James's Reviews > A Matter of Latitude

A Matter of Latitude by Isobel Blackthorn
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it was amazing
bookshelves: 1-fiction, 8-next-chapter-authors, 9-read-2019-07-july

A Matter of Latitude is the second book I've read by author Isobel Blackthorn. In this tale of corruption and psychological fear, readers get to know Celestino and Paula, a married couple with a young daughter who live in the Canary Islands. From the gripping opening when Celestino is nearly killed in a car accident, attacked by a dog, and almost swallowed by the sea, we know we're in for a traumatic ride...

The novel alternates between Celestino and Paula as they attempt to find their way back to one another. Celestino is wounded and knows someone is trying to kill him. He's an artist who was trying to work on a painting with a client, but there seems to be something going on with his role in the widespread corruption occurring throughout Lanzarote, the island where they live. Paula is waiting for him to return for their daughter's birthday party, but he never shows. She relies on her parents, who've moved to the island during retirement, but they aren't as helpful as they could be. Throw in a few neighbors and friends, and Paula spends most of the book tracking down Celestino's whereabouts on the day of the storm when he went missing. What she learns about her husband is not something she's prepared to understand. Is he dead? Has he crossed to the evil side? Is he purposely leaving her in suspense? Is he protecting her from someone? Celestino finally finds some help, but it might be too late for him to return home further unharmed. Add in a couple more deaths, and this thriller will have you nonstop guessing what's going on with this captivating couple.

Blackthorn's writing prowess can easily be seen in her descriptions. She always leaves a clear visual of the landscape, expressions, and action happening on each of the pages. I particularly enjoy how her novels are set outside of an area where I have any familiarity. Despite not having been to the islands, I feel like I know them well now. I also like the details she provides about each character's background and personality, enabling readers to feel connected to the tale as if they're involved in the action themselves. Another strength is the layers involved in the corruption on the island. While we're fairly certain how to feel about the primary couple, beyond them, I couldn't tell who was innocent and who was guilty. From the kind / not-so-kind neighbor, to the best friends, to the guy following Paula around begging for help... one of them had to be involved. But who!?! Blackthorn kept me guessing until the very end. A good pay-off too...

If you enjoy international stories full of drama and culture, this is definitely one to put on your list. There's a fine balance of intrigue and serene comfort between all the action that leaves you thirsty for more of the author's work. Beyond a few books on the Canary Islands, there are others in her canon, too. I'm excited to check them out in the coming months.
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Reading Progress

July 15, 2019 – Started Reading
July 15, 2019 – Shelved
July 15, 2019 – Shelved as: to-read
July 15, 2019 – Shelved as: 1-fiction
July 15, 2019 – Shelved as: 8-next-chapter-authors
July 22, 2019 – Shelved as: 9-read-2019-07-july
July 22, 2019 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-4 of 4 (4 new)

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message 1: by Shaina (new)

Shaina Oh, this sounds loaded with suspense ! Great and wonderful job !

James Shaina wrote: "Oh, this sounds loaded with suspense ! Great and wonderful job !"
Thank you! :)

message 3: by Kathi (new) - added it

Kathi Defranc Wow, sounds awesome!! Great review!!

James Kathi wrote: "Wow, sounds awesome!! Great review!!"
Definitely lots of culture and new settings for me. Thx!

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