Isle of Man is backdrop for 'Safe House'
By Oline H. Cogdill
Published: Saturday, Dec. 22, 2012, 8:56 p.m.
Most Americans probably have little idea where the Isle of Man is on the map. For the record, this self-governing British Crown Dependency is located in the Irish Sea, between Great Britain and Ireland and may be best known to sports fans as the site of the annual TT (Tourist Trophy) motorbike festival, going on since 1907.
The Isle of Man makes for an intriguing backdrop for “Safe House,” Chris Ewan's first stand-alone thriller. “Safe House” works as an emotional story of a family dealing with a tragedy and the action-packed tale of a young man caught up in an elaborate kidnapping scheme. “Safe House” also deftly weaves in elements of the locked-room mystery and the village mystery thanks to the size of the Isle of Man, which is only 32 miles long with a population hovering around 80,000.
Heating engineer Rob Hale's latest job takes him to a remote farmhouse where two men are staying, along with a chatty, lonely young woman named Lena, who begs Rob to come back for her on his motorcycle. But the couple has just caught the end of the motorcycle races when they have an accident. Rob remembers the ambulance taking Lena away. But when Rob wakes up in the hospital, there is no record of Lena. The cops who interview Rob maintain he was the only one who was brought in by an ambulance, and no one is living in the cottage he claims to have visited.
Determined to find Lena, Rob teams with Rebecca Lewis, a private investigator from London. Rob's parents hired Rebecca to investigate the suicide of his sister, Laura, a few weeks ago.
While the link between Laura and Lena seems too coincidental, Ewan keeps his tightly coiled plot full of plausible twists and turns, each more surprising than the one before. Rob and his family are suffocating with grief over Laura's death and what they didn't know about her life. Rob makes a credible hero, capable of showing a strength he didn't know he possessed. But Rebecca emerges as the real star of “Safe House,” a strong, independent woman who has more than a few secrets.
Ewan, best known for his “Good Thief's Guide” comic mystery series, shows his affinity for intelligent, involved plots and hard-hitting action in “Safe House.”
Oline H. Cogdill is a staff writer for the Sun Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.).
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- McMahon’s ‘Winter People’ is a chilling supernatural mystery
- ‘Bootlegger’ is compelling addition to Cussler series
- Leonard doesn’t fear his father’s shadow
- Literary wonders fill woman’s world