The Lighthouse Keeper : A Reckoning Death - By Luisa Buehler

(Grace Marsden, #5)

With a troubled marriage, and the haunting memories of ghosts, bones, and dead bodies, Grace Marsden needs solace. The invitation from her childhood friend presents Grace with an opportunity for respite on Christian Island.

Georgian Bay in the off-season provides a perfect venue for relaxation, until a fluke snowstorm shatters the serenity. Grace and nine other people find themselves trapped on the island and the prime suspects in the mysterious death of an island Elder.

An ancient Indian tragedy, island ghost sightings, and modern day treachery twist lives until more deaths and more danger make Grace unsure of whom she can trust.

When the spirit of the lighthouse keeper beckons to her- is it to warn her or harm her?

The Lighthouse Keeper chooses to blend it's array of mystery into the familiar warm and cozy tale, complete with cabins, snow, a close knit of friends, and even endless cups of tea with the supernaturally inclined (ghosts). While the plot was flawed in certain areas, the overall picture was one worth admiring, enriched with captivating tales of old family legends, potential ghosts and psychic abilities, small island prejudices, and endless red herrings. Akin to the type of Ten Little Indian story Christie was well known for writing, the heroine even thinks to herself at times that they were in a similar situation to that particular novel.

Character-wise, Grace is a different sort of heroine. Awkward with a tendency to chomp down on her Nikes when in social settings, she often makes the wrong choices. It's easy to emphasize with someone who's not perfect, and she's certainly not, particularly when it comes to her severe obsessive compulsive disorder. This level of the disorder (outside of the TV show Monk, but really there aren’t enough similarities to compare. ) isn't really explored well in many books I've read. She did irritate me at times with her presumptions about her brother Marty, but overall she's one I rooted for all the way. Marty as the big brother was a lot of fun, which oddly cute protectiveness toward his older sister. He did have the tendency to delve into improper flirting with their friends wives, but hey, all in good fun right? The others sort of blended together, all nice (well, except for the villains of course). King could get on my nerves at times, but toward the end I found myself falling in love with his persona.

Buehler did well with suspense laden scenes, stringing it tightly in certain spots, especially the snow-shovel incident. I'm not sure why, but the cave scenario where Gracie was lost gave me the creeps, reminding me a bit of The Howling 4. The plots aren't the same at all, but it had that same disturbing element of when they were lost in the tunnels. Violence is kept to a minimum on "page", instead with bodies found afterwards.

At first I feared the mystery itself would be cliché and too dramatic, but through the middle of the book it picked up with some killer twists. Sadly I struggled through some of the story, as the endless twists seemed to at times twist amongst themselves. The result, rather than being simply a hearty helping of mystery-laden story, instead became a confusing labyrinth that almost grew exhausting. The Lighthouse Keeper starts with strength, attempting a fierce grab of the reader's attention. Unfortunately I found the first few chapters dangerously veering toward melodrama and forced reaction, but thankfully Buehler was able to smooth the way with little effort later on. Able to grasp on to each character and be intrigued by their personalities enough to follow the mystery, I held patience for it to become more complex. It did, almost like it was spiced with street drugs, becoming extremely clever.

Red herrings galore, continuous changes to keep a reader on their toes, and strangly bizarre incidents kept me hooked. Buehler's style of writing is worthy and, even if it does border of melodrama at times and with certain dialogue phrases, it strays from becoming overly poetic/cloying. Pacing was muffled at first, but then sped to an almost apocalyptic speed that forces the reader to pay attention, else they lose their way. Enriched with a comforting, warm feeling toward the end, The Lighthouse Keeper ultimately succeeds in achieving its goal as being an entertaining read.

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