The Offering by Desirée Bombenon is an amateur sleuth thriller about a super-rich couple whose travels inevitably take them into crime (available September 25, 2012).
It all begins while Amanda and Jake Bannon enjoy some down time at the beach on New Year’s Eve. They are in Ko Olina, Oahu, Hawaii. Jake goes over some things on the computer while Amanda enjoys the tranquility of the place, replaying in her mind’s eye her life story: her youth, her studies, how she met this man who’s proved to be the special one, how they married and became rich and powerful, about their kids and their adventures.
The Bannons are not your everyday couple. Yes, they have lots of money; no, they don’t need to work anymore; yes, they are blessed in many ways; but, at the same time they are restless. They always want to move around, visit different places, meet new people, live exciting adventures, and they do. Sometimes though—and this is one of those times—they just need to sit back, relax, and enjoy some moments of peace and togetherness.
However, Amanda who can see, or rather feel, things that nobody else can, has a premonition that something is bound to go wrong.
There was something heavy in the air. Amanda felt it was akin to a storm brewing in the distance. All the crazies were coming out of the woodwork, hanging their hat on a word or phrase from some biblical or ancient transcript that was misinterpreted or translated incorrectly.
She knows by now that she can trust her gut feelings, but what she doesn’t expect is that one of those crazy end-of-the-world theories, which flow freely around nowadays, will have a direct impact on their lives. All it will take is a phone call to bring her and her husband out of their illusions of spending some days of bliss in paradise. The caller is Bernie Wright, an old friend from Canada, who tells them that his ex-wife, Gail, and his daughter, Taylor, who were supposed to arrive on the Big Island a couple of days earlier, have gone missing.
The reader travels back and forth in time, watching what is happening where the women are kept hostage, and what took place in the past, not only in their lives, but also in the lives of their captors, Liag and Carlos.
Carlos is a man with a body and a soul full of scars.
All Carlos’s life, his father had told him that his mother died in childbirth. All his life, his father had beaten him mercilessly in order to cleanse him of the sin of taking his mother’s life. All his life, his father had lied to him and made him feel unending guilt and sadness because his mother was gone. And while he had blamed himself all along, [he came to learn that] she had left of her own accord. His mother had left because of his father, not because of him.
Carlos felt lost until he met Liag, mysterious Liag, who became his spiritual father, the teacher who taught him all he needed to know to save his soul, and with whom soon enough he will perform a ritual, a sacrifice, in order to achieve that.
Apart from the Bannons the rest of the protagonists in this novel seem to lead less than charmed lives. They are lonely, desperate people who are looking for something or someone to hold on to. And it’s exactly this desperation that will make them close their eyes to the truth and drive them to believe in futile dreams. One looks for redemption, another for a kindred soul, a third for somebody to love, and someone else just wants to secure the future of his family.
As we follow the Bannons on adventures that will take them across land and sea, over a river and to the top of a mountain, we’ll meet some broken people, see the face of evil and experience acts of madness. And in the end we’ll come to understand that sometimes victims and villains are nothing but opposite sides of the same coin.
Lakis Fourouklas has published four novels and three short-story collections in Greek. He’s currently translating his work into English and blogs at Fiction & More. He also keeps a few blogs in Greek regarding general fiction, Japanese literature, and crime fiction. Follow him on Twitter: @lakisf. He lives in the wilderness of Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Read all posts by Lakis Fourouklas for Criminal Element.