Book of the Day
2020 Silver Falchion Nominee
Secrets of the Galapagos
by Sharon Marchisello
Milford House Press
Publication Date: October 2019
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Secrets of the Galapagos
Review by Joy Gorence
Sharon Marchisello’s The Secrets of the Galapagos opens with a pulsating description of Giovanna’s close encounter with a hammerhead shark at Gardner Bay. Imagery for the opening scene builds a canvas for Marchisello’s novel. Providing a backdrop of the islands’ vivid details paints a backdrop for the mysterious disappearance of Laurel, Giovanna’s snorkeling partner.
Giovanna Rogers, succumbing to the charms and wily ways of Jerome Haddad, the husband of her close friend in college, entrusts him with her finances for a start-up non-profit organization. She, unfortunately, invests all of her money and her fiancé’s money in the ordeal only to learn that it ends with their financial devastation. As a result, her engagement also falls victim to Jerome’s scheme. Her grandmother, Michelle, a woman young at heart, takes her on a cruise to the Galapagos Islands as a “grand gesture to help [her] get over [her] heartbreak.”
Giovanna, however, soon finds herself a potential suspect in the death of one of the guides, Fernando, and a friend of Laurel’s. The tension builds throughout the story as Daniel Ramos, the cruise director, does not seem to be concerned with the disappearance of Laurel, a researcher who has “spent years studying the wildlife of the Galapagos region.” Giovanna discovers that Laurel and Fernando’ friendship is connected to the conservation of the islands and its tortoise population. Giovanna learns that what Laurel may have uncovered can be a potential problem for the island’s tourism trade. When Detective Victor Zuniga becomes involved in the investigation of Fernando’s murder and Laurel’s disappearance, Giovanna learns the facts of the invents that have unfolded.
Not only does Sharon Marchisello weave a tale of intrigue with a touch of romance, she brings to light tourism‘s impact on the islands’ fragile ecosystems. Hopefully, we may learn more of Giovanna’s escapades in coming novels.
Joy Gorence is new to Killer Nashville. She is an author, world-traveler, English professor (ret.), and avid reader. Originally from Long Island, NY she now lives in South Florida with her husband, Bill, and their two pampered kitties.