A Dangerous Secret by Peter Martin did not impress me as far as believability in several plot points. Garry Flynn got a phone call from his mother requesting help. She was near death. Although he responded in time to hear her last words, the death was inevitable. But the words she spoke to him just prior to death were explosive. She told Garry that she was not his birth mother. Garry had no memories of a mother before Doris Flynn but since he had never expected he was adopted, this was logical. Garry and wife Delia lived according to their means; they were not wealthy but they were able to pay their bills. All this changed after a reading of Doris’s will. Garry and Delia would have no further worries about money. They would not have to work for the rest of their lives.
Enter my first area of disbelief. Garry decides that he must find his birth mother. This becomes his paramount concern. They visit an uncle that Garry remembers from a one-time meeting in his youth. The uncle claims family estrangement and can’t help Garry. He encourages Garry to forget it. Delia agrees. I agree with Delia. But Nothing will stop Garry. Uncle Alan did mention that Doris and husband had gone on vacation to the West Indies. Garry decides to seek information there while on vacation. Delia decides to shop.
Garry and Delia arrive in the West Indies with Garry looking for information and Delia looking for fun. Garry spends time looking for adoption records, birth and death records, and newspaper articles. Delia shops. Some “old-timer” at a newspaper overhears Garry’s questions and volunteers to meet him late at night in a restaurant where he will supply information. Garry shows up for the meeting. No old guy. When he tried to find where the senior informant lived, he found that his informer had abruptly left the area. Delia advised him to forget it. I am a fan of Delia.
Yet another person, Isaac, claimed to have information but would only talk to Garry personally. This required Garry and Delia to take another vacation. It was lucky for them that they had inherited money. The two arrived to find that Isaac had decided not to talk to them. Delia was happy to shop. But not Garry. They found Isaac’s house but thugs guarding the place warned them off. They would never talk to Isaac. Delia was ready to shop.
Yet another letter arrived at their hotel promising them Isaac had changed his mind and would meet him at a hotel the next day and reveal all. This did not happen. Charlene, purporting to be a friend of Isaac’s met Garry and Delia at the hotel and offered to fly Garry, Delia, Tom (son) and wife Jane, Cassie (daughter) and husband Chris, and grandson Adam to a remote island where only superrich lived. Garry’s mother was one of them and she wanted to meet the entire family of the son she had abandoned.
The second area of my disbelief arrives. Why would anyone, along with their family accept such a blind offer? Why was I still reading this incredibly slow novel? Already at the 45% point, nothing had happened except affirmations from Garry that he wanted to see his birth mother and suggestions from Delia that it was not all that important. Incredible to believe, Garry and extended family agree to fly on a private charter to a remote island to meet with unidentified people. All would be explained when they arrived. But it wasn’t.
The slow-moving action now moves to the remote island where the action does not pick up speed. But readers know something will happen because no one is going to leave the island until it does. Eventually, we arrive at a series of weird events and relationships that at least explain why Garry had earlier received such resistance in finding his birth mother.
There are at least four twisted surprise relationships and an unrealistic surprise ending. I felt we could have gone from A, the beginning to Z, the end, by skipping steps B through V. I found a lot of passages with the sole function of filling pages such as this: On finding an email message,
‘Delia! Come here quickly!’ She came out of the bathroom, toothbrush in hand, and glaring at Garry at the bottom of the stairs, said, ‘What’s the matter now, Garry? I’m trying to brush my teeth, for God’s sake.’ ‘Just wait till you see this. Come and read it, it’s important.’ ‘What could be so important it can’t wait until I’ve finished?’ (Kindle locations 1382-1386).
I asked the same question. I think Delia and I would be a good match.
I gave this three Amazon stars for the unusual revelations at the end. I will not read more by this author. I am not sure what type of reader would be so interested in such a slow-moving story.