In Mateguas Island, the first novel in this series, Bill Anderson mysteriously drowns (or did he?) after moving his family to the idyllic locale, but Mateguas Island turns out to be rife with magic and the specter of ancient rituals. His body was never recovered, so ten years later, his twin daughters, Terri and Sophie, are determined to find out what happened to their father. Karen, their mother, is unsurprisingly reluctant, given she’s moved on and remarried, but she accompanies them back to the island, where the mystery deepens, as does the danger.
The Mateguas Island novels are tailor made for sequels, so it was a pleasure to read this novel after dipping into the later novel Ghosts of Mateguas. The success of this book rests on Watkins ability to write realistic and engaging family scenes. A supernatural tale needs to have some naturalism first in order to deepen the mystery, and Watkins excels on both fronts. There is a plausible realism to what happens on the island, no matter how seemingly horrific. Mixed in with a dizzying array of unpredictable twists, and multi-dimensional characters, and Return to Mateguas Island is a thrilling page-turner.
It’s probably best to start with the first novel in this series to get a full sense of what the twins are investigating, as well as get properly immersed in the series, but this novel certainly stands on its own. If you’re a fan of the first book, this book will convert you to a fan of the series. With a better cover, it might stand out more against other paranormal thrillers, but this is a series that sticks with you, and which you’ll want to read each subsequent book.