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Bahamarama    by Bob Morris order for
by Bob Morris
Order:  USA  Can
Minotaur, 2004 (2004)
* * *   Reviewed by Martina Bexte

After two years in a federal prison on trumped up charges, Zack Chasteen wants nothing more than to get re-acquainted with his publisher girlfriend Barbara in their love nest on her tiny private island in the Bahamas. Unfortunately, two Cuban goons sent by Victor Ortiz (the mob boss who got Zack sent up in the first place) are waiting for him outside the prison gates demanding that Zack hand over their boss's 'property'. Zack feigns ignorance and politely declines their invitation to a more private meeting. The timely arrival of a car sent by Barbara saves him from further bodily harm. Zack assumes all is well until the shady looking limo driver named 'Chip' disappears with Zack's ID and most of his money. His first day of freedom has just gone from bad to worse.

He finally gets home, only to discover that his trusted friend Boggy has been making a handsome profit selling off Zack's palm trees to local landscapers. He might have let it go, but his grandfather personally planted each and every seedling and Zack had planned to eventually turn the land into a nature preserve. He's barely grasped this disturbing new development when he's ambushed yet again by Ortiz's thugs. Zack escapes and begins an odd quest to find his beloved Barbara, who, he eventually discovers, has survived a murder attempt and been kidnapped, along with an elderly millionaire. There's a hefty price tag on both their heads and the kidnappers allow very little time to collect the ransom. It's about now that the laid-back Zack has had enough. He's ready to do anything to get his Barbara back. With the help of a crafty Royal Bahamian police superintendent and Zack's mysterious Indian friend Boggy, plus an additional cast of equally quirky characters, our hero goes on the offensive to rescue his girl.

Bob Morris is a debut crime writer to watch. His novel is loaded with unusual characters, especially first person narrator Zack, tons of humour, nifty plot twists, slick writing and just enough edge to keep you riveted. It also helps that Morris is a Florida native, expert in painting his exotic backdrop, the Florida gulf coast and the surrounding islands. Check out Bahamarama - it's a tropical blast.

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