Lynne M. Hinkey,
Marina Melee
(Casperian Books, 2011)

Lynne M. Hinkey's Marina Melee focuses on life in the tropics -- reminiscent of Carl Hiaasen's and Dave Barry's novels, but with far less bloodshed -- and just as much eccentricity!

George is a rich brat who has grown up in years but not in attitude. After divorcing his third wife, who predictably takes him to the cleaners (though this is at least half due to his dad's refusal to hire a competent divorce lawyer, an error none of his ex-wives have made), George goes on a sailing vacation with old friends...

...And ends up impulsively buying a marina on a small island from a guy who is definitely trying to scam him.

Can George make it work?

But in many ways, that's not really the point, although George does grow and change throughout the novel. Mostly, though, this is about the secondary characters, all of whom are complex and mostly good-hearted, but with their own agendas. George learns that his preferred hands-off management style works amazingly well at working with the more knowledgeable people on whom he depends.

Now, George doesn't change all his stripes! He still drinks too much upon occasion and does stupid things, but he has a support system here that ensures that such lapses are more tolerated than jumped-on -- which in its turn, allows him to grow past doing the stupid stuff, at least most of the time.

Even the minor characters are a lot of fun. The "Sand Witches," for example -- a trio of chicks with inherited wealth who mostly live to make spectacles of themselves and others, and who are very, very good at it. And the Senate. And more.

The book is very well-written and beautifully paced, which makes it even more fun. This is a perfect summer read, or maybe a winter one when all is gloomy and tropical sunshine seems the antidote.

book review by
Amanda Fisher

6 August 2016

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