One of the great perks of being an Amazon Prime member is the chance to select a free Kindle book to read each month. It introduces members to authors they may never have heard of and this month I choose the book “Wreckage” by Emily Bleeker whose name was unfamiliar to me. I was intrigued by the novel which was billed as the novel of a plane crash survivor and her fellow survivor, both of whom have lied extensively about the truth and whom a reporter is ruthlessly trying to understand and expose.
As with other suspense books I’ve reviewed here, this is a hard book to explain without revealing a lot of key plot twists. There are two narrators, Lillian and Dave, the former as part of a contest prize and the latter as a representative for the company awarding the prize. They are part of they take turns telling us about their lives right before the plane crash, significant days of their lives as castaways on an island and their eventual rescue two years later. I had hoped they would recount a lot of the same days so we could see how they saw things differently, but for the most part only one person tells about each event.
There are other characters who are very significant in the book, including two crew members, one of whom does not survive the crash (yet who still is key to many aspects of plot happenings) and one who does, and the latter becomes an almost buffoonish villain for whom we have no insight into that person’s thoughts and feelings. We just have to take the words of Lillian and Dave who freely admit they are liars that this person is so one dimensional. As our main characters we should be liking Lillian and Dave, if not rooting for them, and yet the author makes them hard to like. A minor character on the island also shows up for a period of time, one whom we get hints about until the last three quarters and is then revealed. A sharp reader will have figured out who the character is before the identity is confirmed and then be shocked and possibly saddened at what becomes of the character.
The book delves somewhat into family relationships, and yet almost none are portrayed as healthy ones. One character has a fight with their spouse over something right before take off, and that fight inadvertently causes the spouse and others on the plane to take actions that have literal life and death consequences in the crash. Lillian is a parent of two boys and yet her children and relationship with them is almost written as an afterthought, barely relevant to much of the book. As the book goes on it’s clear that neither Lillian nor Dave have a good marriage, and since they are alone together for much of the book, anyone can guess what will happen with their relationship when they are alone with no hope of rescue.
When they are finally rescued the main characters continue making poor life choices. They lie to the world about things that can be proven false, and they behave in ways that would seem out of character to most people even given the hardships they have endured over the years. One of them will help the other out to an extraordinary amount, doing something noble but which has the potential to change both their marriages in bad ways, and yet after the truth of that and almost everything else is out, their spouses understand and seem to be the perfect partners for them for perhaps the first time ever.
I wanted to like this book, but there is just too much suspension of disbelief needed to do so for too much of it.
Rating – two baby booties out of five