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The Island Off Stony Point    by Regis Schilken Amazon.com order for
Island Off Stony Point
by Regis Schilken
Order:  USA  Can
Bridgeway, 2006 (2006)
Paperback
*   Reviewed by Sally Selvadurai

Regis Schilken's The Island off Stony Point is an interesting tale: Schilken has taken the idea of kidnapping monks, along with their monastery's tabernacle, and using these hostages to extort great sums of money from the Catholic Church. Throughout their ordeal, the monks, particularly the ninety-plus Father Martin, show a quiet grace, which gradually exerts a positive influence on the youngest of the kidnappers; Stony, unlike his cohorts, is not a hardened criminal, merely a good son to his widowed mother, trying to put his sisters through college.

Schilken obviously has a good knowledge of the geographical terrain he is trying to evoke and this helps make the plot plausible. However, the book's characters remain wooden, spoiling what might have otherwise been a good read. The dialogue is not meaningful and believable, and does not reflect the colloquial use of language that people use every day: 'Finally, Tim spoke. "How awful how tragic horrible. That is probably the worst thing that has happened since I joined the police force"'.

In another part of the plot, an attempt by the police to shadow a well-marked truck carrying off the ransom money is foiled by going over one of Pittsburgh's bridges, but the reader is left begging the question: Why weren't unmarked police vehicles waiting at both ends of the bridge to tail the get-away vehicle? All told, this is a novel with great potential, but inadequately backed up by strong character development and realistic situations.

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