Review

Afloat

by Erin Healy

It isn’t the project architect Vance Nolan set out to build, but the buoyant condos known as Eagle’s Talon are marvels just the same. Floating in a scenic cove of the Rondeau River, they were supposed to serve as affordable housing for low-income families, until renowned developer Tony Dean changed the plan to make them high-end units for the wealthy. With Tony funding the project, Vance had no recourse but to change direction. Frustrated and feeling deceived, Vance’s feelings toward Tony are less than amicable. He is not, however, the only one the real estate mogul  has alienated. Tony’s shiny exterior hides a darkness weighted with sins and secrets. So far, he has kept them hidden from his girlfriend, the beautiful Danielle Clement, who works for him by attracting buyers for Eagle’s Talon. But someone else knows the ugliness inside Tony, and has planted a bomb to make sure Eagle’s Talon does not stay afloat.

"Author Erin Healy has crafted a story that packs enough action and suspense for two novels, first gripping the reader with an eerie introduction. Her characters leap off the page, each with his or her own unique personality, flaws, motives and baggage."

Vance feels an instant attraction to Danielle, but suppresses it, believing her to be married. He soon finds out that her husband died two years prior, but because of Tony, she is still off limits. Danielle tries to tell herself she’s in love with Tony, but in her heart, she knows he is simply a safe harbor. He has provided her and her son Simeon with a beautiful place to live and everything they need --- a welcome respite after the grief and stress of losing her husband in a hit-and-run car accident. Still, there is something lacking in their relationship and, truth be told, something in the man himself. Sincerity? Passion? Honesty? Whatever it is, Danielle prefers to turn a blind eye.

In the hours prior to the disaster, Vance’s nerves are on edge. The birds are silent, his neck prickles, and then…a vibration. Rumbles from beneath the earth set in motion a series of horrors that will change some lives forever, and end others. The ground beneath a huge pump truck is the first to sink, causing the massive machinery to sheer off a section of one of the buildings. Several chapters to follow present a series of catastrophic events as downpours deluge the river and swallow the land, the midday sun goes dark, and ash blankets the remaining ground. In the midst of the chaos, lies flourish, astonishing truths are revealed, and relationships are challenged as love, friendship, murder and mayhem course their way through the wreckage of the nearly completed floating condos.

Cut off by the flooded river, a small group of residents and workers, including Vance, Tony, Danielle and Simeon, try to survive. While the architect attempts to convince everyone to await rescue, the rich developer plots a different strategy --- venturing across the river in a homemade raft. Danielle wants the safest choice for her son, but is torn between the man who’s been her protector and the one her heart tells her to trust. And while the adults fight their battles, physically, emotionally and spiritually, little Simeon sees something amazing in the water --- something Heaven-sent that will shed enough light to reveal secrets.

Author Erin Healy has crafted a story that packs enough action and suspense for two novels, first gripping the reader with an eerie introduction. Her characters leap off the page, each with his or her own unique personality, flaws, motives and baggage. Though I struggled at times with picturing certain scenes, despite detailed descriptions, I still enjoyed this tale that reminds us God is in control, even in those moments when everything seems clouded by chaos. Readers will enjoy the page-turning plot and the unexpected revelations that keep the pace in high gear until the end.

Reviewed by Susan Miura on May 17, 2013

Afloat
by Erin Healy