Rocky Point Road by Joseph Allen


Rocky Point Road by Joseph Allen
Publisher: Rogue Phoenix Press
Genre: Suspense/Mystery, Contemporary
Length: Full Length (158 pages)
Heat Level: Sweet
Rating: 3 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

When his ex-wife drowns in a hot tub in California, Denis Rosa sets out to bury her and sell the house. He confronts her philandering history and her fixation on young chicano boys, and is the victim of a vicious attempted murder without ever knowing why. The house on the cliffside on Rocky Point Road holds a ghost, a hidden treasure of some kind, and decades of memories for the Rosa family. When Detective Sue Mason is assigned to the case, her son and his soon-to-be husband and two dogs move into the house with Denis to protect him from further attacks. Is it drug-related? The wife was alcoholic and smoked grass, but nothing hard. Denis confronts his ghosts as he finds himself attracted to Sue. The key to the plot is found when Denis slides off the edge of the cliff.

Every death leaves behind unanswered questions and unfinished work, but some deaths have more of these than do others.

Denis’ character development was strong. His strengths and weaknesses were woven seamlessly into the plot. Seeing how they affected everything that was going on was interesting. I really enjoy stories that are so sensitive to how the main character reacts to what is happening to him or her. It makes reading them even more enjoyable than it might have been otherwise.

I would have liked to see more time spent developing the other characters in this book as well. While I wouldn’t expect everyone to be as three-dimensional as the protagonist, I did have some trouble figuring out their personalities. Their speaking styles tended to blend in together with one another. This was especially noticeable with Detective Sue Mason given how much time Denis spent going over the case with her. The background information I was given about her wasn’t quite enough for me to form a mental image of what she was like.

The question of what really happened to Denis’ wife wasn’t at all easy to answer. Many of the clues he uncovered could have been interpreted in more than one way, and some of them needed serious thought before I could interpret them at all. I appreciated needing to spend so much time on it as I have a strong preference for mysteries that require the reader to pay close attention to small details in order to solve it. One definitely needs to do that for this story.

Rocky Point Road is a good choice for anyone in the mood for a challenge.

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