Equal parts family drama and murder mystery, Counting on You is a light read with a few twists.
Truth is stranger than fiction. No one knows that more than storyteller Julia Locke, who travels to the Marshall Islands in order to attend her birthfather’s memorial service and watch his cremains be launched into space. Julia’s real mission is to meet her half-brother and ask him to be tested as a potential donor before kidney disease claims her life. But she stumbles on a dead body the morning of the launch, makes the wrong choice, and ends up discredited when she later tries to alibi her half-brother, who’s under arrest for murder. Now, with her health declining and her mission in jeopardy, Julia must sort through the Islands’ bad blood with the U.S. military, unravel the tall tales everyone else is telling, find the missing ashes of her birthfather and a famous starlet, and identify the real killer before her time runs out.
I can sum up this novel in one word: “nice”. The writing is meticulous, clean, crisp and well thought out.
Julia, who comes to the island to meet her half-brother, Matt, and his mother Lynn, needs a kidney and her health is quickly diminishing. When another guest at her hotel is murdered, she makes a choice that causes her to weave lies but she soon finds she’s not the only one withholding the truth. To cover up for themselves and each other, these three characters tell some tall tales. I sometimes felt a distance between reader and characters. There wasn’t enough background information to form any opinion on who they really were. On the island, the choices they make are made under duress which made it hard to feel any real emotion one way or the other.
There’s no action or thrill ride. The story is more drama then anything. The plot is a tad predictable but there are enough twists to keep it interesting. Some secondary characters were a little “off” and a few of the side stories were a bit far-fetched but those are really irrelevant to the main story. The author did a nice job of putting in some history of the Islands’.
A nice light mystery that would make a great beach read.