This book was reviewed for Reader’s Favourite
Watkins’ Ghosts of Mateguas is the third in the Mateguas Island series. While the stories are connected, they can be read stand-alone. Later books provide sufficient back information so a new reader won’t feel lost.
This story heralds a return to the infamous Mateguas Island for Dexter Pierce, and for the shattered remnants of the Andersen family. Karen Andersen, now Karen Pierce, returns to the island for the summer, accompanied by her infant son, and her husband, Dex. Her daughter, Terri, has also returned to the island, to spend the summer with her beau, Shawn, and get hands-on experience with the fishing industry. Bill Andersen, Karen’s ex-husband, once presumed dead, had returned earlier, purchasing once-home and renovating it.
Each of these people has returned to the island they once called home for varying reasons. And each has secrets that weight the heart. Secrets that will tear them apart. Secrets that have left a few of them just a little off in the head.
Bill Andersen spent two years stranded on the nearby Puffin Island. Presumed dead, his wife remarried, and moved cross-country. Even after being rescued, Bill was left mute and unable to remember the experiences he had on Puffin. He spent several years institutionalised as he regained speech and coherence enough to rejoin the rest of society. Despite that, and work with a therapist, Bill has yet to consciously recall his time on Puffin. Unfortunately, Bill harbours a well-hidden psychotic streak and suffers delusions he can get back with his wife, leading him to make some very bad choices.
Karen Andersen, we learn, was once involved in ritual magick on Mateguas. She has returned to the island with her son, whom she believes not to be Dex’s, but the son of a god. Once returned to the island, she begins having truly bizarre experiences that lead her to reluctantly seek the aid of a local medicine man.
The Andersens aren’t the only ones with secrets. Dexter Pierce has some skeletons in his own closet that get dredged up by Bill and his ‘girlfriend’, reporter Susan LeVeque, involving a murder case from his high school years, and possibly several others.
All of these events form a confluence that sets into motion a waking darkness on the island older than time itself. For much of this story, I was left wondering if the supernatural and preternatural occurrences were actual, physical events, or were purely in the minds of the participants. To a degree, I found it to be both. A shuttered mind is unlikely to see that which it cannot comprehend, and an open mind can sometimes be too fertile.
I found Ghosts of Mateguas to be a quick-paced psychological thriller/horror story. The various stories that made up the tapestry of the whole were equally engaging, and kept me turning the page. If you enjoy books similar to Stephen King and Dean Koontz, be sure to check out the Mateguas Island books!