Riptide, by Eric E. Wright (Harbourlight Books, 2014)
Vacationing on St. Simon’s Island to revive their marriage, Ashlyn and her husband, Craig, are in church when he hands her an envelope of divorce papers and walks out of her life. Betrayed and bewildered, Ashlynn soon finds out it’s worse than she thinks. The FBI has frozen her and Craig’s assets and seized their house in an investigation into Craig’s alleged money-laundering.
Ashlynn is a respected marriage counsellor. How can she face her clients? Craig is a deacon in their church. How could he have an affair, let alone commit a crime like this?
She can’t even ask him, because he’s disappeared with his attractive female co-worker. Leaving Ashlynn to fend off FBI agents and the Russian Mafia, who claim Craig lost their money. Naturally, they want it back.
Riptide is an engaging story of one woman who discovers inner strength and deeper empathy for the people in situations she’s only addressed professionally in the past. She also learns to trust good friends instead of relying solely on herself. Most of these friends are new, people who reach out to her in her pain on the island: Remy, captain of a shrimp boat; Lottie-Jean from the restaurant where Ashlynn takes temporary work; Valerie from the local church.
The counsellor part of Ashlynn observes her reactions to Craig’s desertion. If she goes back to her clients, she’ll have a greater insight into their pain.
Remy, who fancies himself a “knight in blue jeans” appoints himself her protector—from car repossessors and from the Mafia goons when they find her. Ashlynn can’t trust her feelings toward him. Even though Craig won’t consider reconciling, shouldn’t she keep trying? And is she really drawn to Remy, or is she just rebounding from Craig?
Riptide is a suspense novel, but the danger isn’t overt until far into the story. Until it escalates, readers develop a strong sympathy for Ashlynn as she spars with the FBI agents and dives into a busy waitressing job with no experience.
Eric Wright brings St. Simons Island to life and gives us a look at shrimp fishing and storms at sea. Once the action starts for Ashlynn, it doesn’t stop. Don’t plan to put the book down unfinished.
Eric E. Wright is the author of suspense novels, non-fiction books about country life, and books on theology. Visit him at The Country Window to learn more about the author and his work, and follow this link to read chapter 1 of Riptide.
[Review copy provided by the author.]