(24. - 1049.) The Last Resort by Marissa Stapley - Pain. Acute and chronic. The lacerations of failing relationships. Grace and Miles Markell are specialists in such pain, At the beautiful Harmony Resort on the Mayan Riviera of Mexico they host two week retreats for well-to-do couples on the abyss of separation. Yet they are living a failing personal relationship.
Shell and Colin are a mature Canadian couple with perfect hair. They are abruptly defined as the alcoholic and the workaholic.
Ben and Johana have come from California. He is a busy district attorney. She is a social worker who has not left their home for weeks.
All the couples are bitter. There is clearly an abundance of motive for violence.
Since I deal with family law every day at the office the stories and emotions are very familiar.
Johanna likes to speak of herself as one of the “helpers”. Grace says she is also a “helper” and asks Johanna if “that means you don’t get to go to therapy”.
Ben is absorbed in wanting to return to the intimacy they had early in their relationship.
Grace is deceptive in telling Johanna that she has a happy marriage. When Johanna is unresponsive to her questions Grace asks her to a group anger management meeting.
Colin is absorbed in business. He has secreted cell phones so he can keep calling even though known cell phones are confiscated on arrival to avoid distractions.
Disaster looms ever closer as the relationships keep disintegrating. The closed therapeutic world created by Miles and Grace is toxic at its core. When will words turn to physical violence?
Leaving the resort is not an option. A category 4 hurricaine is about to strike.
It is unusual crime fiction for my reading in that the plot is concentrated on relationships.
Stapeley generates increasing tension and plausibly reveals the secrets of her characters. There are layers of venom in the relationships.
The resolution was clever. Yet for much of the book the men are bad and the women are good. I have rarely found in marital strife all the blame falls on one gender. Still I expect the target audience for the book was not men. A male reader is likely to be discouraged in the reading of The Last Resort.