Rebel Island is a “mile-long, thin strip of beach and
cord grass that stretches north like a comet’s tail. The
southern end is half a mile wide --- just big enough for the
lighthouse and the rambling old hotel…”
The island gets its name from Colonel Duncan Bray, a crazy rebel
who fought in the final battle of the Civil War and who was
convinced that Rebel Island was Confederate soil. Bray’s
house, now the Rebel Island Hotel, has weathered half a dozen
hurricanes, but Hurricane Aiden is testing the limits of the
island, the hotel and its inhabitants.
When Tres Navarre, his pregnant wife Maia and wheelchair-bound
brother Garrett step off the ferry at Rebel Island, they are met by
U.S. Marshal Jesse Longoria, a ruthless man who is rumored to have
killed six men in cold blood. There's bad blood between Longoria
and Tres, and the marshal warns Tres to get back on the boat. Tres
refuses to leave.
Longoria turns up dead with a bullet hole in his chest, and with
the approaching storm, the killer is unable to leave the island.
The storm has knocked out the phone lines, there’s no mobile
service, cell phones won’t work and the island’s only
shortwave radio has been smashed to pieces. In Longoria’s
room, the killer left behind a crumbling candy skull wrapped in
The Day of the Dead candy is the calling card of Calavera. The
notorious assassin is known for using explosives to blow up his
victims across South Texas. Was Longoria on the island to apprehend
Calavera? Is the assassin still in the hotel?
As Tres tries to make sense of it all, the manager of the hotel
goes missing, and a note with the words “Find Him” is
slipped under Tres’s door. When the manager is later found
dead, stuffed in a refrigerator, the list of suspects grows, as
does the velocity of the impending storm.
REBEL ISLAND has a collection of characters spicier than Texas
barbeque sauce. Chase, Markie and Ty are a trio of college students
out for a good time --- or maybe they're looking for something
more. Benjamin Lindy is an elderly Texan lawyer who keeps his gun,
and his secrets, close to his chest. Alex, a childhood friend of
Garrett’s, served in the Army in Kuwait and is known for
creating fireworks displays. Lane is running away from an abusive
spouse. And there’s Imelda and her husband Jose, who are
caretakers for the hotel. They may know more about the murders and
the whereabouts of Calavera than they are willing to tell. The end
result is a heart-pounding thriller with twists and turns, and
justice served up Texas-style.
Reviewed by Donna Volkenannt (firstname.lastname@example.org) on January 23, 2011