Things have not been going well for newly-divorced clock repairman Cal Batten, but once he inherits a weird, football-shaped house (with fake laces actually painted along the roofline) on the island of Blacktip, from a father he hasn’t laid eyes on since he was 12, he is at first convinced life is finally turning around. THE SECRET OF ROSALITA FLATS by Tim W. Jackson jumps into this woebegone hero’s adventures as he travels to the tropics where some locals are not all that friendly and a good number of them seem convinced Cal’s old man had unfathomable riches secreted away someplace, which they’re determined to get their hands on. Cal does discover a few perks to the real estate delays, however. Such as former childhood friend, Marina, who is all grown up now into someone who fills out a red bikini in ways it’s hard to look away from, and who offers to teach Cal to scuba dive. Then there’s the inscrutable Rosie, so loyal that she refuses to be fired as the cleaning person for his father’s odd home, even though he’s dead. Is she friend or foe?
On an island where everyone seems to have an unspoken agenda, it’s difficult to know whether either of these women, or Cal’s rum-soaked real estate lawyer, or Rafe Marquette (the island’s law enforcement) can be trusted. And what could his crazy paternal parent–believed here to be a sorcerer–have been up to making everyone so sure that somewhere he’s got a vast treasure hidden?
Rich, detailed descriptions amply flesh out this whale of a tale as Cal attempts to outsmart them all. The story is infused with a delicious sense of the unknown along with hints of the potentially paranormal, such as duppies (island spirits) who moan temptingly, luring unsuspecting people into the bush, and the Mersquatch, alleged local Bigfoot rising from the nearby sea. More typical dangers also lurk in an ocean infested with toothy barracudas and fish sporting gigantic dorsal fins as Cal reluctantly begins acquainting himself with this forbidding, watery landscape at Marina’s side.
Light and breezy, THE SECRET OF ROSALITA FLATS by Tim W. Jackson is perfect summer reading for anyone who loves diving into a good mystery without, in real life, having (or being able) to get their feet wet.
~C.S. Holmes for IndieReader