In Tom Barry’s novel When the Siren Calls, we’re introduced to Jay Brooke, a wheeler-dealer real estate manipulator with a smooth line for hooking naïve investors and a fatal attraction to women. Working an iffy time-share deal in Tuscany, Jay meets Isobel Roberts, a frustrated woman married to a workaholic, and seeking meaning in her life. As these two planets orbit closer and closer to each other, circumstances conspire to cause perturbations in both lives.
Lucy has her sights on Jay, and has hooks in him. The time-share deal, which he has drawn his friend Andy into, is in danger of coming apart at the seams, and Jay finds himself painted not so neatly into a corner; with no apparent escape.
Suspenseful, touching, erotic; all are adjectives that aptly describe Barry’s handling of this novel that defies neat categorization. The author’s familiarity with the setting is apparent in every scene, and he uses setting extremely well to establish mood. The characters in When the Siren Calls are a troupe of complex, flawed creatures, driven by greed, loneliness, the desire for revenge, but most importantly, by the need to be noticed.
Though not a mystery, this is a page-turner that is guaranteed to keep you up late. It has humor, suspense, and will keep you reading until the last page; and then, salivating for more.