The cover and blurb for Illusive Intrusion by Tomasz Chrusciel are intriguing. Sisters Bianka and Niamh are offered a trip of a lifetime. Two weeks at a luxurious hotel on Gran Canaria. Niamh is invited for a modeling gig and since she’s underage, her older sister, Bianka, is her chaperone. The shoot is supposed to last a few days and then they can enjoy their holiday. Goyo, a Spanish photographer, will be with the sisters and he’s hoping to be reunited with a former flame while on Gran Canaria. But the holiday starts off rocky and goes downhill from there quickly. Not only is the island cut off from the rest of the world, there seems to be an evil and unexplainable force targeting the sisters. Will they be able to survive?
Chrusciel’s debut novel has much going for it. His descriptions of Gran Canaria will pull most readers into the setting and ignite their inner travel bug. The author seems well traveled and has a way of describing even the mundane aspects of travel with pizzazz and humor. It’s obvious that the traveling aspect of the novel is the author’s comfort zone.
Also he keeps the readers on their toes. Lazy readers will be baffled by the plot and all the twists and turns. The novel starts off slow, but once the action gets going, Chrusciel puts the medal to the pedal and takes the reader on a rollercoaster of a ride.
While there is much to like about Illusive Intrusion, it would behoove the first-time novelist to take a second look at his novel. As mentioned, readers have to keep up with his writing. In fact, careful readers will have to go back and reread certain sections to know what’s going on and even then not all aspects are fully explained. The issue is with both the development of the characters and story.
Right from the start, the reader knows that all the characters are flawed and are battling their own demons. This is good. Many love characters who have issues and who aren’t cardboard cutouts. However, consistency and character development are absolutely necessary in any type of novel. At times the reader may be confounded about the back story of some of the characters. And their actions are a bit all over the place.
The author decided to keep a lot of the mystery elements hidden until the last third of the novel. This is somewhat jarring. There are clues but they are deceptive and if the reader doesn’t know what to look for, they can be missed entirely even when reread. Authors in this genre have a difficult task. Besides leaving clues, it’s imperative to have twists and turns that at first seem out of the blue but when they do occur the reader should have an “Aha!” moment. Some of the revelations in the last third of the book are so far out there that many may be scratching their heads wondering how or why certain things added up.
This doesn’t mean that the book isn’t enjoyable. It is. And if the author decided to revise the storyline and the characters to make them consistent Illusive Illusions could be a smash hit. There are morsels of greatness and it’s easy to see how it could be polished to fall into the fabulous category instead of just flickers. Many readers will forgive a first-time novelist for not knowing the ropes completely and hopefully they will be intrigued enough to read other works by him.
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