Hi all, I’m off to the van again this afternoon until Tuesday, but have scheduled this Friday Spotlight today which falls upon Sharon Marchisello. Sharon is an author of fiction and non-fiction, who lives in the delightfully named Peachtree City, Georgia.
Sharon Marchisello is the author of two mysteries published by Sunbury Press. Going Home (2014) was inspired by her mother’s battle with Alzheimer’s disease. Secrets of the Galapagos (2019) deals with mayhem on a Galapagos cruise.
Besides novels, Sharon has written short stories, travel articles, corporate training manuals, screenplays, and book reviews. Her blog, Countdown to Financial Fitness, and nonfiction book, Live Well, Grow Wealth, deal withpersonal finance. She earned a Master’s in Professional Writing from the University of Southern California and is an active member of Sisters in Crime.
Sharon grew up in Tyler, Texas, and earned her Bachelor of Arts from the University of Houston in French and English. Retired from a 27-year career with Delta Air Lines, she now lives in Peachtree City, Georgia, and does volunteer work for the Fayette Humane Society.
Book description (Secrets of the Galapagos):
Shattered by a broken engagement and a business venture derailed by Jerome Haddad, her unscrupulous partner, Giovanna Rogers goes on a luxury Galapagos cruise with her grandmother to decompress.
At least that’s what her grandmother thinks. Giovanna is determined to make Jerome pay for what he’s done, and she has a tip he’s headed for the Galapagos.
While snorkeling in Gardner Bay off the coast of Española Island, Giovanna and another cruise passenger, tortoise researcher Laurel Pardo, both become separated from the group, and Laurel is left behind. No one on the ship will acknowledge Laurel is missing, and Giovanna suspects a cover-up.
When the police come on board to investigate a death, Giovanna is sure the victim is Laurel. She’s anxious to give her testimony to the attractive local detective assigned to the case. Instead, she learns someone else is dead, and she’s a person of interest.
Resolved to keep searching for Laurel and make sense of her disappearance, Giovanna finds that several people on board the cruise ship have reasons to want Laurel gone. One is a scam involving Tio Armando, the famous Galapagos giant tortoise and a major tourist attraction in the archipelago. And Jerome Haddad has a hand in it. Thinking she’s the cat in this game, Giovanna gets too involved and becomes the mouse, putting her life in jeopardy. But if she doesn’t stop him, Jerome will go on to ruin others.
Reviewed in the United States on July 27, 2021.
Then travel along with Sharon Marchisello on an action-packed, justice-seeking mission of a young woman determined to catch up with the con artist who took advantage of her good intentions of helping to save animals. And saving from extinction is a major theme of this well-researched book in which the setting proves as engaging as the fictional story. I’ll probably never make it to the Galapagos, so I especially appreciate an author who can engage me with the sights, sounds, and scents of this sacrosanct place that’s as threatened as the animals that live there. The story has a bit of everything—romance, suspense, revenge, intrigue, and even a bit of humor. The ending is tight and satisfying. I’m glad to have read this book.
Short Excerpt: (Secrets of the Galapagos – 2019)
Laurel tugged at my flipper and pointed. I pivoted through the stream of bubbles in time to see a six-foot hammerhead shark, its flat head barely rippling the water it displaced. I could have touched its coarse, gray skin had I dared. My heart pounded. In our dark wetsuits, did we look like seals? The guides said these Galapagos sharks were not dangerous unless provoked, but who knew when one might decide to add a little tourist delicacy to its diet of fish and crustaceans?
Her dark hair floating around her face, my new friend Laurel gave a thumbs-up. I returned the gesture. I sensed her radiant grin through her mask.
The shark glided away almost as quickly as it had appeared, replaced by a school of surgeonfish, their yellow tails and silvery bodies shimmering in the sunlight. I lost sight of Laurel as I floated among them like a mermaid.
I kicked my way to the surface and lifted my head to drain my snorkel tube. As I pushed a strand of wet hair out of my face, I glimpsed the band of white skin where my engagement ring had been—until last month. Don’t think about that jerk, I scolded myself. Focus on enjoying this incredible cruise. And the mission: justice. Our group had been snorkeling in the chilly waters of Gardner Bay for about an hour, and all I wanted to do now was get back on board the ship, dry off, and tell everyone over a tasty lunch of fresh seafood about our close encounter with the shark. Laurel surely had shot some great pictures.
I pulled off my fogged-up plastic mask and rinsed it in the ocean. The sea had grown rougher since we’d started snorkeling, and dark clouds gathered. A wave slapped my face, sending salty water into my nostrils. I held up my right hand, the symbol for, “I’m ready to come in.”
Where was everybody?
“Laurel?” She’d been swimming beside me moments ago, snapping photos of the vast display of marine life.
I scanned the water for my fellow snorkelers and the guides hovering in the inflatable black boats called Zodiacs. Laurel and I had not strayed that far from the group … had we?
I put my mask back on and ducked underwater to see if anyone was still swimming beneath the surface. Nothing but fish. I didn’t care about the fish anymore.
The sudden sensation of being alone in the cold ocean sucked my energy. I took off my mask again, struggling to hold my head upright and tread water while I regained my bearings.
The steep volcanic outcropping where we’d congregated was on my left. It had been on my right before. I must have drifted to the other side. Seabirds squawked at me as if I had plans to disturb their nests wedged into the jagged, guano-coated crevices.
“Laurel?” She must be wondering what had happened to me.
I dog-paddled around the volcanic rock and then sighted one of the Zodiacs—at least thirty yards away and headed back to the ship. A black speck in the distance was probably the other boat.
“What the—?” I propelled myself in their direction, but the current pushed me back. Instead of aiding my progress, my cumbersome flippers, life vest, and wetsuit—the gear that had kept me so buoyant underwater—now weighted me down. I stopped and waved my whole arm rapidly, the sign for, “Come get me now!”
No heads turned in my direction. The boats were moving farther away.
Damn that Fernando! That self-centered excuse-for-a-guide was too busy flirting and boasting about his exploits to notice two missing passengers.
Something bumped my leg. I couldn’t look.
“Hey!” I shouted at the top of my lungs. I kicked hard and sprang upward, spy-hopping like I’d seen whales do. “Hey!” I had visions of myself drowned in the Galapagos or devoured by a shark—a tragic end to this vacation of a lifetime, this attempt to escape the mess I’d made of my life back in Georgia. So much for ever doing any good in the world.
Social Media Links:
http://sharonmarchisello.blogspot.com/ (Personal Finance blog, Countdown to Financial Fitness)
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