Life imitates art as the stars of a low-budget horror film become victims of a vicious murder that may be supernatural in origin. Just two years ago, Vanessa Loren was thrilled to have written and to be producing her first movie. Even though she and her friend Jay Allen have sunk all of their life savings into the project, they were almost done with the movie. On one of the final night of filming, they were horrified to discover that two of their actors had been brutally killed. As if their deaths were not enough, their arms and heads had been removed from their bodies. Those body parts had then been placed in the sand, in a scene very similar to the movie they were so close to finishing, on the unique and mystical Conch Island.
In addition, the movie was not just a fictional slasher film. It also had pieces of mysteries that occurred on the island they were using to film, including the mysterious disappearance of a Spanish ship with many dead pirates. The ship that disappeared also took the secrets its captain, Mad Miller, his consort Kitty Cutlass and a wealthy woman names Dona Isabella, who had been kidnapped by the pirates on-board.
Over the years, there were many ideas as to their deaths. They included that Kitty's obsessive love for her partner drove her to kill, that the pirate killed them all in a bizarre ritual following a threesome love affair and even that Dona Isabella killed them all.
Vanessa has suffered from nightmares ever since the night the bodies were found. Their movie was never sold and law enforcement officially had no suspects. However, it was strongly believed that Carlos Roca, one of the members of the crew for the movie, was the murderer and there simply was not enough evidence yet to support that.
Determined to solve the death of her friends, she returns to the Conch Island and obtains work on a new movie that is about unsolved mysteries of the island. It is important to learn that the island and the deaths occurred in the already suspicious Bermuda Triangle.
After proving her diving and camera skills, she is hired as an assistant and an obvious attraction between Vanessa and the producer of the current filmmaker, Sean O'Hara. His own little secret that forces him to believe in the supernatural is his friendly household ghost Bartholomew, who occasionally follows him on his dives and regularly participates in conversations.
Odd events begin to occur, such as Vanessa discovering a heavily encrusted emblem bearing the image of Dona Isabella from the well- searched wreckage of her ship. It was so damaged that it had to be professionally repaired to regain the image and before that information is available, she is drawn to buy a similar item with the same image from a vendor.
Vanessa and Sean begin work together, which brings on extensive attraction between the two. When they finally engage in intimacy, it solidifies their friendship and they are a couple. At about the same time, it is mentioned that there was another mystery boat that disappeared only a year ago, killing the four people on it.
Vanessa does not want to believe that her friend Carlos was the murderer, but evidence continues to point in that direction. At the very end, it appears that another two of her cast-mates, Zoe and Bill from two years ago lost their sanity and killed the two victims. The conclusion establishes that Dona Isabella became a ghostly demon and appeared to Zoe and Bill. She promised them power and wealth, if they would kill for her and give her the blood she needed to exist. They agreed and so while they were technically the murderers, they did so for the demon.
Dona Isabella is vanquished when she is sprayed with holy water, which weakens her and allows her to be disposed of by an oily, evil mass. Sean and Vanessa admit their love for one another and realize that the original mystery of the pirate ship is not likely to be solved. Assumably, their movie ended successfully, although that was not completely confirmed
Best part of story, including ending:
I liked that you never really knew what would happen until it did. In addition, you did not have to wait till 3/4 of the way through the book for the lead characters to admit their feelings for one another.
Best scene in story:
When Vanessa is being evaluated for the movie, she and Sean go diving. The details that are used to discuss the underwater world, epecially when that world includes a long-buried ship, were extensive and imaginative. It was easy to feel, when the 300 pound fish accompanied her underwater briefly or when the brilliant colors of coral were described, as if you were there.
Opinion about the main character:
I love that she still carried trauma, in the form of nightmares, from the murders two years ago and yet she still followed through on a new endeavor to find the killer. She was strong and made no excuses, but was a very likable character.