Intense, well written, thought provoking

The Island - Lisa Henry

Opening Line: “Shaw looked out the window as the chopper came in to land.”

I was kind of unsure going into this (especially after the warning in the back blurb) I mean I don’t even read BDSM so I figured this was going to be way out of my comfort zone but luckily I took a gamble because it turned out to be a fantastic, well written and very moving story. Sure it’s intense, but it’s also thought provoking, suspenseful, romantic, (way) surprising and even tender.

And oh did I mention it takes place on a Fijian island (hello virtual vacation -although I’d choose an island not inhabited by a twisted crime lord) Anyways. Yes there are situations here that are uncomfortable, disturbing and just plain painful to read but they take place off the page and are non-sexual, more like a prisoner of war situation then a kinky F’d up sex thing (if that makes sense?) So don’t be afraid of THE ISLAND especially if you like good romantic suspense, Australian heroes and a smile inducing HEA.

Entrepreneur Adam Shaw arrives on the private Fijian Island to sell a stolen and very expensive (albeit ugly) painting to the powerful crime boss known as Vornis. Vornis is one twisted pig in the truest sense of the word but he’s also an important stepping stone in Shaw’s murky world as he will introduce him to some important future business partners. Shaw is the middle man to the bad guys, finding them what they need for a fee; weapons, bombs, jewels, artwork nothing is out of his reach but he has a conscience too and it’s about to be tested.

On his first night on the lavish island Vornis introduces Shaw to his new “toy” a beautiful but destroyed young man. He is now only a shell of his obvious military background; beaten, drugged, brutalized, starving and for the most part living in some reclusive part of his own mind. Being the consummate host Vornis gives the boy to Shaw to "play with" for the duration of his stay. Shaw is not a monster though, he’s different from these people or so he keeps reminding himself.

Over the coming days Shaw does what he can not to hurt the boy any further while still appearing to be one of the monsters. Putting on a show for the cameras in his room and appearing unfazed when Vornis takes him back for a few hours to well, terrorize and beat the shit out of him. I mean he feels for his situation but really it’s none of his business and what could he do anyways? They’re trapped on the island, hounded by bodyguard soldiers with escape an impossibility. If Shaw shows any weakness at all towards the boy Vornis will kill them both. It’s a slippery slope and it’s so cleverly written watching Shaw work both sides.

For the majority of this story we remain in Shaw’s head, with only the occasional glimpse into the mind of the boy know as Lee. Again this is great writing because make no mistake this is also very much Lee’s story and when his head clears enough from the drugs and we’re allowed in let me tell you it’s a mess. His coping techniques, utter terror and flashbacks bothered me more than the abuse he was suffering. For Lee, Shaw is the first person since his capture to look him in the eye, to treat him like more than a dog and to give him hope that he might have a future. Hope can be a dangerous thing though. I can't say much more than that. Totally recommended. Cheers