I love easy reads in the summer and that usually means quick and funny. This one hits both criteria so it’s a perfect choice for a beach read, plus the fact that most of it takes place in the water!
Blacktip Island by Tim W. Jackson
Genre: Comic Adventure
Inadvertent embezzler Blake Calloway high-tails it to the Caribbean, a step ahead of the Feds and desperate to restart life as an anonymous divemaster in a tropical paradise. On Blacktip Island, though, Blake quickly discovers “tropics” doesn’t mean “paradise,” and rookie boat hands stick out like a reef at low tide.
The locals are quirky: a landlord who swears he’s Fletcher Christian reincarnated, a boss who likes fish better than people, a sloshed resort manager with a sex-crazed wife, a possibly ax-murdering neighbor, and a girlfriend who just might turn Blake in for the reward money. Blake steers a ragged course between them, trying to straighten out the mess he’s made before the cops can track him down and haul him away.
Blacktip Island is an irresistible comedy for anyone who’s ever dreamed of trading the rat race for a hammock under the palm trees.
This was definitely an easy read but it left me feeling somewhat underwhelmed. I was expecting a laugh-out loud funny story but this one was a lot more subdued. There were plenty of sarcastic remarks that garnered a few smirks and the crazy crew of characters added a quirky spin but nothing really hit hard enough to actually make me laugh.
It’s also kind of hard to enjoy the story when I found the MC really annoying, and a bit of an idiot! He doesn’t think ahead, blames everyone else for his problems, is super gullible, and also seems to be a kleptomaniac?! It seems we’re supposed to root for this guy but I wasn’t on his side any step of the way.
It was much more enjoyable to read about him when he was working as a divemaster (another diving book! I seem to have a type). It was clear he loves diving and has total respect for this job, and seeing that the author himself has experience as a scuba instructor, I was glad to see how well this passion translated to the page. Blake certainly seemed more than capable in the water so I just wish some of that had translated to land 😛
All that said, I could still enjoy the story without liking the MC. Though it was a little slow-moving, the mystery of this island was really entertaining. Everyone’s got a story to tell, and their fair share of secrets, so even with the larger mystery directing the main plot, there are a bunch of mini mysteries you can try to figure out as well. The quirky cast is a lot of fun and adds a lot of personality to this island but I think they’re a little too much drama for me to ever want to visit myself!
About the Author: Armed with a newly-minted master’s degree in creative writing, former journalist Tim W. Jackson knew he was qualified to be a bartender, a waiter, or to apply to a PhD program. Instead he chose Secret Option D: run off to the Caribbean to work as a scuba instructor by day and write fiction at night. More than a decade later, he still wishes that was half as interesting as it sounds. Or even a quarter . . . Jackson is the award-winning author of the literary novel Mangrove Underground and The Blacktip Times humor blog. His second novel, Blacktip Island, a comic misadventure set in the Caribbean, was released fall 2016. His “Tales From Blacktip Island” short stories have been published in literary journals worldwide. He is currently concocting his next Blacktip Island novel, The Secret of Rosalita Flats.
I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own