The aspect of the psychic is usually overwrought into a sense of the supernatural but using it as a matter of perspective to solve a case of missing persons in an interesting perspective. In “The Burning Island” [Hester Young/G.P. Putnam’s Sons/416pgs], Charlotte is a woman with kids who is a journalist by trade but her gift seems to be finding lost children. She lost one of her own though sickness so her perspective is fueled by saving those she can find and redeem versus those she cannot. The book begins with her and her partner Josh helping find a lost boy in the Arizona desert (through her visions), It is not clear if this was from a previous book or just a prologue. That said, after paparazzi and gossip publications camp outside of her house because she found these lost people through visions, she and her best friend decide to escape for a girls week on the Big Island of Hawaii to unwind. They choose a small local town with a bed and breakfast not far away from Volcanoes National Park. it is an isolated town but her assigning editor sends her there as well to do a piece on a local scientist with a penchant for Ironman competitions. What she finds is two of three interconnecting stories that pierce her visions but it is about unraveling these thoughts and her own hang ups. The back drop is an interesting perspective and the eventual reveals are low key but also not overwrought. It is a balanced read in a relaxed sort of way. Some of the human structure of behavior is both interesting but also divisive in terms of creating a sense of motivation (although an interesting perspective from a reverse psychological progression is something like “Baby Teeth“). “The Burning Island” is a specific read without too much density of trouble in paradise but the texture of life hanging just below the surface.
By Tim Wassberg