Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Review: Left Turn at Paradise by Thomas Shawver

Here's the description from Netgalley:
Michael Bevan is barely scraping by with his used bookstore and rare book collection when he discovers a timeworn journal that may change everything. Dating back to 1768, the tattered diary appears to be a chronicle kept during the first of legendary seafarer Captain James Cook’s three epic voyages through the Pacific islands. If it’s as valuable as Mike thinks it is, its sale may just bring enough to keep his faltering used bookstore afloat for another year.

Then he meets a pair of London dealers with startling news: Adrian Hart and Penelope Wilkes claim to possess the journal of Cook’s second voyage. Is it possible a third diary exists? One which might detail Cook’s explosive final voyage—and his death at the hands of native Hawaiians? Together, all three would be the holy grail of Pacific exploration. But before Mike can act, the two journals are stolen.

Chasing them down will sweep Michael, Adrian, and Penelope across the globe—past a dead body or two—and into a very sinister slice of paradise. High in the Southern Alps of New Zealand, in a remote and secretive Maori compound, a secret rests in the hands in of a man daring enough to rewrite history . . . and desperate enough to kill. 

This was a lot of fun to read.  It's a light mystery with a lot of intrigue and twists.  I read it while also in the middle of two long nonfiction books, and it was so nice to just get lost in the story.
Michael Bevan was an interesting character.  I didn't warm up to him right away though.  I think at first I was a bit hesitant to like him because I thought he'd be your stereotypical attractive man who solves crime.  But he's much more than that.  He loves books, he loves reading, and he is very smart.  He also has a dark past.  I couldn't help but warm to him after just a few chapters.

One of the greatests parts of this book was the setting.  Much of it takes place in New Zealand, a place I've never been (but hope to eventually get to!).  The scenery was stunning in this book.  The descriptions were so real that I could imagine exactly what Bevan was seeing.  A book like this is an escape for me, and it is so nice to be able to escape to a lovely mountainous New Zealand when I'm stuck in a rut at work and wondering when my next vacation will be.

All in all, definitely a fun read.  My favorite part was just the immense love of books by the characters.  They are mostly antiquarian booksellers, and you can tell how passionate they are.

As a little side note guys, don't forget that the blog address will be changing permanently soon.  I won't be posting here much longer. It's the same me and the same blog, just a different link: http://abookandabeer.wordpress.com/

Title: Left Turn at Paradise
Author: Thomas Shawver
Date of Publication: August 2014
Number of Pages: 208
Genre: Mystery, fiction
Source: Netgalley/TLC Tours
Publisher: Alibi

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