Jumping Ship by Janice Ross

Jumping Ship by Janice Ross
Publisher: Self-Published
Genre: Suspense/Mystery, Historical, Contemporary
Length: Short Story (44 pages)
Heat Level: Sensual
Rating: 2.5 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

The year was nineteen seventy-five. Pregnant seamstress, Petrina Dugal, became a runaway at the age of twenty-six. She ran away from a brutish husband, Roger, and a well-loved South American home in Georgetown, Guyana; at the heart of her rebellion – an enigmatic lover named Michael Chen. Pet and Mikey, as they became affectionately known, allowed love to blossom in front of her police officer husband and an intrusive community. Were they not aware of the dangers? Or did the pursuit of love trump obligations?

Pet and Mikey’s journey to their new life took them through a multitude of the Caribbean’s treasure trove of islands – Antigua, Martinique, Barbados, Grenada, Trinidad & Tobago, and Saint Lucia. More than a month later their voyage landed them at JFK airport, in New York USA. And they disappeared, as though their existence was a myth. During this time, barren couple, Pearl and Edward Riley stumbled upon a newborn baby girl. Her cries could only be heard by a true mother, which Pearl immediately became. Bundled up with their new child, they discovered a parcel of artifacts and a scribbled note that read: Sakkara.

Sakkara Riley grew up with two loving parents – adoptive parents to be exact. She never knew the circumstances surrounding her discovery, until the age of sixteen. The personal artifacts that were handed over had haunted her from that point on. After eight more years, including much research and probing, she was given the opportunity to begin her journey of self-discovery.

“Jumping Ship” provides the introduction to Sakkara’s attempts to commune with her true heritage.

Sakkara has always wondered where she came from, and now she’s finally old enough to start looking for her birth parents thanks to a few clues left with her when she was abandoned. The only question is, has the trail gone cold over the last few decades?

Imagine discovering a newborn in a pile of trash. The idea of running across something like that is so heartbreaking and unthinkable that I was immediately hooked onto this mystery. It was even more intriguing to jump around in time and learn about what kind of person Sakkara grew up to be as well as some information about her biological parents. I made assumptions about their lives that did not necessarily correspond to who Pet and Mikey actually were as individuals, but what I did learn about them makes me want to know more.

While I completely understand Ms. Ross’ desire to pique the interest of her readers, and I believe that she has done an excellent job setting up a detailed backstory for the mysteries Sakkara will confront in later books, I do wish that at least a few of the questions posed in this piece were answered. Jumping Ship asks many intriguing questions, but due to the lack of closure for any of the mysteries that are introduced earlier on this is not something that works particularly well as a standalone piece. Even solving a small part of the puzzle of Sakkara’s origins at some point in this introduction to her quest would have earned this book a much higher rating as Ms. Ross clearly knows how to write an engrossing tale.

I didn’t know anything about Guyana before reading this short story, but Ms. Ross’ extremely detailed descriptions of what it’s like to live there made me feel like I was walking alongside Sakkara in the small town she lived in. Even clothing, hairstyles, and the scents that cling to one’s skin are described in meticulous detail, and while it slowed down the pacing of the first few scenes I truly enjoyed the author’s attempt to make every inch of her story come alive once I settled in and paid close attention to her character-based plot. This is a languorous mystery that works best if it’s allowed to unfurl slowly, and while I would have liked to see certain scenes cut to most important information a little more quickly I do appreciate the author’s willingness to paint such a vivid picture of life in Guyana.

Jumping Ship shows a lot of promise. Reading it made me curious to discover what happened to Sakkara’s birth family, and I would recommend this book to anyone who is planning to dive into the entire Island Hopping Series when it is released in 2014.


  1. Thank you for taking the time to read & review my work. I appreciate your valuable feedback.

    All the best!


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