REESE’S LEAP by Darcy Scott is about five longtime friends who meet for their annual, all-female retreat on a remote Maine Island. They are forced to put the party on hold to host the hard-drinking, bachelor botanist, Gil Hodges, who just happens upon them one afternoon and winds up stranded there by fog for what could be days. A hopeless womanizer, Gil is secretly pleased to be there but soon finds the island’s deeply forested interior deceptively bucolic and the women a bit too intriguing for comfort. It stirs his glorious if libidinous memory and his profound regret for his past.
When a ruthless, diabolical stranger appears out of nowhere, insinuating himself into the fold and bent on a twisted revenge, fear blooms as basic necessities on this rustic island mysteriously begin to disappear. And when a spare cell phone and their means of escape to the mainland also vanish, it falls to Gil to keep the women safe, despite their dawning awareness that not everyone will make it off the island alive.
The book is lyrical in its sense of place and dark in its depiction of the human condition. It has a complexity born of many rounded characters following their own arc—for instance, Gil Hodges, a Don Quixote with the besottedness of Falstaff, the buoyant volubility of Augie March, and the tenacity of Jack Reacher. Gil is a lovable main character, fascinating to watch. I wouldn’t get near him, not for anything; but just watch him in a crisis, how he always kicks the ball in a different direction.
Like MATINICUS, the book’s predecessor, the voice and technique of REESE’S LEAP are unique. The book is often savage and raw, not a cozy. It’s a fast-paced knuckle-biting mystery, but it is also a book about secrets and an almost insurmountable dislocation born of catastrophic events and the impossibility of knowing the truth of the past or the mystery of the present.
And if in his loss and misery, Gil Hodges has a hint of growth beyond his days-old stubble, the novel contains no easy answers.
REESE’S LEAP is master stroke from a very talented writer. It is haunting; it is scary. The storyline is taut, the characters, surprising and unforgettable, and if you love mystery, and clean, lyrical prose, you won’t want to miss it.
The Reese’s Leap launch is tonight, April 4, at RiverRun Bookstore in Portsmouth, NH. Friday night, April 6, Darcy Scott will be reading and signing books alongside fellow novelist Jen Blood as part of the monthly “Lit: Readings and Libations” program at the Slainte Wine Bar & Lounge in Portland ME (http://www.slaintewinebar.com/). On Monday evening, April 8, she’ll be on the Literary New England Radio Show on Blog Talk radio (http://www.litnewengland.com/).
Her website, www.DarcyScott.net, contains all kinds of information, including audiofile excerpts and a link where readers can order personalized books. Her FB address is www.Facebook.com/Author.Darcy.Scott, and I tweet @Darcy_Scott.
REESE’S LEAP and MATINICUS are available select independent bookstores in Maine and New Hampshire, and online at Amazon in both softcover and Kindle. They’re also available in Nook, and all the other e-formats.