BETRAYAL IN PARADISE by Avis  Lawrence

BETRAYAL IN PARADISE

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KIRKUS REVIEW

In this debut Christian novel, three sisters deal with love, jealousy, and treachery at a Hawaiian hotel.

Marisa Royal works around the clock as a partner at her Honolulu law firm, but when she gets a strange call from her sister Sissy, she must return to the Hawaiian island of Kalua. Sissy and the third Royal sister, Vanda, still live and work at the Kalua Royale Resort. Sissy suspects Vanda—who has been having a series of accidents—is in serious trouble. According to Sissy, these “accidents” might, in fact, be murder attempts by Vanda’s new boyfriend, Kerwin Patrick. Marisa and Sissy attempt to suss out the situation, but Vanda, who runs the day-to-day operations at the resort, resents Marisa’s interference. Meanwhile, Marisa encounters local playboy Stephan Armstrong, who is completely “smitten” with her, though she tells herself that men are at the bottom of her priorities list. Readers quickly gain insight into Kerwin, who is having an affair with Vanda’s best friend, Electra Mau, and is an atheist: “Kerwin did not believe in religion, or in God….He often said, ‘The only God I need is me.’ ” He is indeed trying to kill Vanda, but not before he gets the combination to the resort safe. As Stephan attempts to woo Marisa, she and Sissy must find a way to convince Vanda that Kerwin is up to no good before the con man achieves his goals. Lawrence succeeds in evoking the beauty and bustle of a tropical resort, and both the location and the bond between the sisters make for some fun moments. But the book is hindered by misused or missing words (“Th­is time she sprung her left arm”; “She worked hard and maintained great reputation among her peers”) and highly stilted dialogue, as in this early exchange between Marisa and Stephan: “I’ve heard about this guy, and I’m anxious to find out if he has a negative motive for being a part of Vanda’s life. I am the sister who helps support them, and make sure they are doing well.” The rather thin plot is strung out over 370 pages, with little suspense or tension to fuel it.

A messy tale of sisterhood, faith, and romance.

Pub Date: May 29th, 2019
ISBN: 978-1-64045-723-2
Page count: 376pp
Publisher: LitFire Publishing
Program: Kirkus Indie
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