On leave from her job in Newcastle upon Tyne, following the death of her lover, DS Abby Foulkes is on Skiathos with their young son, Johnny. But just as they begin to relax, Johnny finds human bones in a wood near a Greek monastery on a hillside above Skiathos town. It isn’t long before Abby discovers that this isn’t the first set of bones to be found. When someone disappears from the Hibiscus Fruit hotel where they are staying, Abby is drawn into the mystery.
First lines: Johnny smiled up at Abby through the damp hair falling across his eyes. His hair was so long. She had meant to get it cut in England before they left. Why hadn’t she? Stupid question. Things had just run away from her after the funeral.
Gray is a true master of deep characters. Hibiscus Fruit is so much more than just another detective novel. This is the exploration of grief, paranoia, parenting and self discovery.
The beginning of the book finds Abby fresh out of her partners funeral trying to spend some quality time with her son while coming to terms with being a single parent. Abby hopes that visiting a place where she has fond memories of meeting her former partner for the first time will help her come to terms with his death and begin to move forward.
In her attempt to do this she comes across a man who is on a similar quest for redemption. However, Abby soon finds that her past is tainted by a mysterious line of serial killings that affect both her past and her future acquaintances and flip what she thought she knew of the world on its head.
Good thing Abby isn’t without skills to combat both mentally and physically these realizations.
Gray’s characters are very introspective. While this usually helps me feel closer to the protagionist, I still came away from this story feeling distant.
The books pace is smooth and steady. There were a few surprises but the antagonists were easy for me to pinpoint and that kind of drug the story down. The book also leaves you with some loose ends. I much prefer having a solid ending. If it were more transitional I would probably let it go. Sadly, it didn’t feel that way.
The book was a fun read but had some issues. I’m rating it 3 stars.
The Technical Data:
Title: Hibiscus Fruit | Author(s): Alison Gray |Publisher: Create Space Independant Publishing / Publication Date: 09-10-2014 |Pages: 364 (Print) | ISBN: 978-1500384920 | Genre(s): Mystery | Language: English |Rating: 3 out of 5 | Date Read: 7-10-2016 |Source: Copy from author