Thursday, July 17, 2014

Bon Bini Beach, by Suzanne Vermeer

Open Road Integrated Media, ISBN 9781480443778, May 2014

Dominique Werner and Lilian deGroot, Dutch college students, jump at the chance for a month's summer vacation at an Aruba beach resort where Do's father's company owns a time-share condo. It's a new and strange experience for them, but they start to settle in, and meet other young people, Dutch, Canadian, and American, to party with and to have summer romances with.

And then one night, when they are enjoying the luxuries of Flamingo Beach, Lilian's new boyfriend, Marc, leaves her for a few minutes, and when he returns, she is gone.

He assumes she's ditched him and gone back to the condo with Do. Do assumes she's with Marc, until they meet up the next day and discover neither of them has any idea where she is.

From here, things spiral further and further out of control for Dominique, as she tries to find her oldest friend. The police won't even take a missing persons report until Lilian has been missing twenty-four hours. WernComp's local caretaker and functionary connects her with a local drug kingpin, who does his own investigation and tells her Lilian never left Flamingo Beach and that she needs to be looking for "a Dutch man."

American readers will remember the disappearance of Natalie Holloway in 2005, and it is very glancingly referred to in the story.

I did not at first find either Lilian or Dominique entirely likable, and through the first part of the story they seem to take turns being the spoiled, self-centered college student. They both have their good points, though, and Dominique is loyal, determined, and brave for her friend's sake in searching for Lilian. The pace moves along nicely, and Vermeer is reasonably fair in laying out the clues.

A good beach read, although maybe not in Aruba.

Recommended.

I received a free electronic galley of this book from the publisher via NetGalley.