Saturday, May 7, 2022

The Island

The Island by Adrian McKinty
5/17/22; 384 pages
Little, Brown and Company

The Island by Adrian McKinty is a highly recommended survival thriller set in Australia.

After the death of his wife, surgeon Tom Baxter married 24-year-old massage therapist Heather. His two children, 14-year-old Olivia and 12-year-old Owen aren't thrilled with now having Heather taking over caring for them and view her as too young to be a real mom. Tom is the keynote speaker at a medical conference in Melbourne, Australia, and the whole family has accompanied him, making the trip a short vacation. When the kids keep demanding to go see kangaroos and koalas, Tom rents a car and they go in search of wildlife.

While taking a break and eating at a roadside stand, they meet two members of the O'Neil family who say that the private island they live on has plenty of Koalas. The kids want to go, and Tom, along with a Danish couple, end up paying a large sum of money to take their private ferry to the island. The Baxter's realize that something is wrong on the island, and after a horrible accident they are taken prisoner by the O'Neil family and brought before Ma, who will decide their fate. Suddenly circumstances leave them fighting for their lives. Both Heather and the kids must work together to use all their skills and intelligence if they want to survive and get off the island.

The first thing I though while reading was that this was Deliverance set in the outback. It is an uncivilized, frightening, harsh plot that moves at a rapid tumultuous pace with brutality at every turn. The danger can come from both human and nature. Neither the hunters nor the hunted will accept failure. McKinty includes intermingled among the attention grabbing action some earnest thoughts about human existence, spirituality and meditation.

There is no doubt that this is an intense, compelling, hard-to-put-down thriller that will hold your complete attention throughout the novel, however you also need to set aside some disbelief to fully enjoy the experience. Sometimes setting aside your incredulity and going with the action is the best way to appreciate a novel and that approach will work well with The Island.

Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of the publisher/author.

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