When the Siren Calls by Tom Barry
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
First up let me just thank the author Tom Barry and his publishers for sending me a copy via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
This story begins with Isobel being chased through the streets of Marrakesh by the street kids in the hope she will give them money. She is rescued by a local shopkeeper who then tries to force her to buy something from his shop as payment for saving her. When things turn sour she is rescued by the handsome Jay, who just happens to be staying at the same hotel as her. They have a chat/flirt at the side of the pool, say their goodbyes and go their separate ways. Isobel is unhappy with her marriage, her husband is so caught up with his work that he ignores her at every turn and soon she is dreaming of that day in the Souk and fantasizing about what could have happened. At this point in the story i am hooked... when the story skips forward a few months I had anticipated a steamy affair had already been started but instead found they had shared an email or two where Jay had invited Isobel and her husband to come and look at his new investment opportunity in Tuscany. Which she finally agrees to simply so she can meet him again.
The entire premise of the book is thus... Jay is setting up a time share in Tuscany, he knows it's not going to work the way he is marketing it, and has set up an old friend as a scapegoat so that when it all falls he can walk away scot-free. His team encourages Isobel and her husband to buy not one, but two apartments at the unfinished complex, and even though Jay begins an affair with her he doesn't try to warn her that she will be losing a lot of money.. he even tries to get her husband to invest heavily in the scheme.
There seems to be a lot missing from this story. While I was more than happy with Barry's style of writing (it's the only reason I continued to read if I'm honest) I found the story line itself lacking. I had made it to roughly 60% of the way through, and we had skimmed over sex scenes, making me go back and re-read them just to be sure it had actually happened. There was no sign of romance from Jay and his wife, Jay and his girlfriend, Jay and Isobel or Isobel and Peter. At this point I was very close to giving up, but it was at this point that the story kicked in and I found myself reading the last half of the book in one sitting (it has still taken me 5 days to finish though which is rather unusual for me). The ending seemed rushed and maybe I was too tired by the end but it didn't really have a conclusion, there didn't appear to be any repercussions for Jay from a legal standpoint. Isobel seemed tortured by her feelings about Jay trying to scam them and her passion for their relationship. I'm actually really happy with her decision at the end of the book and feel it was the only option for her.
This is the first in a trilogy but I honestly don't know if I would bother picking up the second.
Thanks for reading.