by Jacquelyn Lewis

A promising premise gone wrong.

In Island of Lost Girls, Jennifer McMahon attempts to create an atmosphere of menace and intrigue. Her premise is promising: a young woman, Rhonda, witnesses the abduction of a girl by someone in a rabbit suit, which in turn leads to uproar in her small Vermont town and brings up issues from Rhonda’s own past, including what she perceives as the disappearance of her childhood friend, Lizzy.
However, the writing is dull and clumsy, the characters are more often than not caricatures, and events that try to convey dramatic and psychological overtones don’t follow logic. Much is made about Lizzy’s “disappearance,” while it’s clear that she simply moved away. The author also seems to want to use the rabbit suit as some sort of motif or symbol for evil, when sometimes a guy in a rabbit suit is just a guy in a rabbit suit, especially when said guy is delivering Easter baskets. The mother of the kidnapped child is obviously trashy, not because of any true characterization, but because she smokes, lives in a trailer, and buys lottery tickets. And Rhonda herself manages to be both boring and annoying—obsessed with Lizzy’s brother, who is married and has never shown any interest in her; sticking her nose into everyone’s business; and whining (note to authors: heroines should not whine) about her looks and her weight throughout the story. There is no mystery here—Island of Lost Girls fails on all levels. If only a guy in a rabbit suit could make the experience of reading it disappear.

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