Vacation by JC Miller

This is not a romance novel. It’s an intriguing love story. It begins with the senseless death of William’s beautiful wife, Kathy, during a convenience store holdup. Three years later the protagonist, William, is still a basket case. William’s friend, Liz, another doctor, a pediatrician, challenges him to take the vacation trip that was planned by Kathy, three years earlier. This trip is the setup for meeting Annie.

I downloaded the book to my iPad, intending to scan the first chapter and delete the book, but the story hooked me. The characters were well drawn and the plot line kept teasing me onto the next chapter. Even the dippy disappearing tour guide, Aaron Black, was interesting as a character. In addition to the well-crafted writing and the lyrical sentence structure, Miller produced a nice balance between narration and dialogue with a constant subtle sprinkle of figurative language.

The plot line languishes occasionally, but always returns to increasing tension. In the last half of the book, the plot takes a completely unexpected twist. It was an exceptional turn and past that point, I couldn’t put the book down.

My only difficulty with the book was the character William. I could not visualize him as a doctor. He was missing that edge that all doctors have whether or not they’re mourning. Liz had that edge and she leapt off the page as a doctor. William seemed to be more like a liberal arts professor. Regardless, it doesn’t spoil a very good book.

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