The Offering, by Desirée Bombenon (2012)

The OfferingJake and Amanda Bannon are rich in every way; they own many companies, they have homes in both Calgary and Hawaii and are now in early retirement, able to travel extensively, including stops to visit their children in Germany and northern Canada. And they have, we are told, “a wonderful relationship.” Yes, told. No need to develop your own picture of this couple and their lives; the omniscient narrator delivers the details straight to the page. Amanda and Jake are welcoming the new year at their Hawaii condo, needing a quiet introspective break. Not to be. Their friend Bernie, an RCMP officer in Calgary, calls them to ask for help. His ex-wife and daughter landed in Hawaii two days before and immediately disappeared. The Bannons have helped the police find missing people before, and Bernie is hoping Amanda can use her clairvoyant abilities to find them. The loyal couple sets out immediately, renting a plane which Jake can fly, natch, to get to the Big Island and begin the search. Jake can fly helicopters, too, which comes in handy later in the story. As do their climbing skills, handguns and sure shooting abilities, and the backpacks of tools and gadgets, including a device that can create oxygen from water. Whether they face gunmen, high-running rivers, or bad weather, Jake and Amanda are able to pull it out of the bag, quite literally. The characters are not well developed, unfortunately, and as I said above, author Bombenon has not yet learned to show us rather than tell us. A travelogue on the Big Island’s nomenclature (p. 16) is followed by a discussion of Mauna Kea and the Waipio Valley; we also learn about Hawaiian beer and kalua pork sandwiches (p. 20). But don’t think this is a Hardy Boys novel. You could call it a genre-bender, but I think it’s more genre-confused. Yes, it’s essentially a mystery, but there’s an erotic scene that some may find borders on soft porn, and one of the characters is clearly based on the albino weirdo in Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code, giving it a decided thriller feel. I wasn’t sure I would stick with it but did, and while I expect a relatively good outcome in such stories, I found a surprising reveal at the end I did not see coming. This rich couple with unlikely resources and a bag full of tricks to save the day is for readers looking for an escapist adult mystery written with the literary maturity of the Stratemeyer Syndicate (creators of Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew, Dana Girls, and Tom Swift, among others). My thanks to NetGalley for the ecopy of this previously published novel.
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About Michelle Mallette
I'm just trying to keep track of the books I've read - what I liked and what isn't worth re-reading. My work as a librarian has included youth services so you'll find a wide range of interests from picture books and teen dystopia to adult sci-fi, road trip novels, and nonfiction. Comments and communication is always welcome.

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