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Formats
Hardcover Book Details
  • 05/2022
  • 9781611883206 1611883202
  • 336 pages
  • $26.95
Lisa King
Author
Blue Haven
Lisa King, author
Welcome to Blue Haven, the world's most lucrative condo corporation, so exclusive that only five lucky residents live in this lush, tropical paradise, housed in a top-secret location. Among them is twenty-five-year-old Aloe Malone, an introvert and former waitress who traded bussing tables for lengthy sleep-ins, ocean dips, Michelin-star restaurants, spectacular sunsets, and unlikely new friends-all thanks to a spurious lottery win. Life's good. Damn good. That is, until Aloe discovers a journal. Seemingly left by a past resident named Eloise whose entries are both sad and evoking, Aloe quickly suspects there's more to Blue Haven than meets the eye. Her suspicions are confirmed when visions arise, gruesome hallucinations she can't understand, followed by a strange yet familiar man lurking in places he shouldn't. Something's wrong. Or maybe it's all in her head. Regardless, she vows to uncover the truth. Except someone wants to keep her quiet, and it's the last person she ever suspected.
Reviews
King (Vanishing Hour) gives adventurous mystery buffs their money’s worth in the beguiling Blue Haven. Aloe Malone, a twenty-five year-old former foster kid, arrives at Blue Haven, a top-secret community of luxury condos available only to the world’s filthy rich whose powers-that-be insist she be drugged as a precaution to protect the island’s undisclosed location, the first of a number of foreboding details. Still, on the island, the clothing is designer, the ocean is heated, the restaurants are staffed by celebrity chefs. Aloe at first feels as if she’s won the lottery, after a life of harrowing long waitressing shifts, a tiny Chicago apartment, and depression. She dines with new friends (the other four residents on the concierge-attended, amenity-filled island), and makes choices foreign to an introvert, choices that make her believe she might finally have found a new life.

But the veneer of perfection quickly begins to smudge: for example, who is Eloise and why was her journal hidden inside Aloe’s condo when Aloe was told that it had been never previously uninhabited? Why does Aloe feel stalked by the “steely eyed creeper?” Suspension of disbelief comes thanks to King’s descriptive, verbose language that seeks—and mostly succeeds—to evoke Aloe’s eerie yet pleasing new world in vivid, cinematic images. There’s a consistent psychological edge to Aloe, referenced via internal dialogue, and the pace sparks when Aloe discovers Blue Haven’s dark, unexplained secrets that leave her hiding in her condo, tugging on matted hair, and chewing her fingernails.

Scary and exhilarating, with more twists and turns than a game of Chutes & Ladders, Blue Haven is an ambitious and painstakingly written psychological thought-adventure about the pursuit of pleasure and escape from pain. King offers surprises in terms of perspective and flashbacks, even edging at times toward speculative fiction, building to the urgent question “Why fix your old life, when you can have a new one?”

Takeaway: A grabber of a psychological thriller imagines living the lush life on a private island–or is it something else entirely?

Great for fans of: Rachel Howzell Hall’s They All Fall Down, Michael Redhill’s Bellevue Square.

Production grades
Cover: B+
Design and typography: A
Illustrations: N/A
Editing: A-
Marketing copy: A

A lottery win has enabled introverted diner waitress Aloe Malone, the protagonist of this mind-bending thriller from King (Vanishing Hour), to buy into Blue Haven, “the world’s most lucrative beachfront community,” whose location is a secret. After agreeing to Blue Haven’s strict limits on personal tech and contacts with the outside world, Aloe was sedated before waking up in what seems to be paradise. She has a concierge always on call, restaurants feature celebrity chefs, the ocean’s temperature is regulated to fit her tastes, and an innovative device allows Aloe to sunbathe without risking sunburn or skin cancer. She even emerges from her emotional shell in the company of the other residents, who include a hunky former pro football player. But despite this, Aloe has flashes of unease, which increase after she finds a diary left behind by the former occupant of her home. As the action builds to a jaw-dropping reveal of the truth behind Blue Haven, King makes buy-in to her premise easy by dint of carefully thought-out characterizations and solid prose. This author’s creative imagination yields a story that’s both suspenseful and moving. M. Night Shyamalan fans will be enthralled. (Self-published)
Formats
Hardcover Book Details
  • 05/2022
  • 9781611883206 1611883202
  • 336 pages
  • $26.95

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