Liable, a Captivating Destination Thriller by Karen S. Gordon

The Bottom Line: A captivating destination thriller with all the ingredients for a perfect beach read: betrayal, sex and deadly games on an exotic island. 

As Vance Courage and Lauren Gold board a private charter for a gambling trip in the Bahamas, none of their fellow passengers are who they appear to be. There’s Tonk, whose appearance – man-bun, weak chin and a Get Shorty tattoo – is an instant turnoff. Also aboard are two broke forestry employees, C.J. and Chan. And then there’s Blade, a veteran pilot who makes an emergency landing on an island called Chub Cay. 

Hours later, circumstances go from bad to desperate as the plane takes off without Vance, Lauren, C.J. and Chan. Topping things off, Vance’s passport and gun have been stolen. 

Author Karen Gordon’s sixth book in the Gold and Courage series delivers her most well-drawn characters yet. Among the book’s delicious reveals is the true nature of the relationship between Blade and Tonk, which pays off in a series of stunning reveals about their respective backgrounds and schemes. Equally riveting is a sordid plot by another fellow passenger who travels with a wig. Equally compelling: a very curious deck of custom-made cards with a sinister purpose. By the time the final page is turned, what began as an island getaway becomes an intriguing web of illicit sex, betrayal, theft and murder.

Will Vance and Lauren get together romantically? How will Lauren respond when other characters refer to Vance as her “boyfriend”? Series fans will get no relationship spoilers from us, but Gordon beautifully depicts a deep and complex friendship that has survived numerous professional and personal challenges along the way. Liable is tons of fun, but a few scenes – such as when Lauren gets some sobering news from the mainland – add serious emotional heft that take their arcs to new heights.

While Liable is primarily a great destination thriller, the book – especially the final third – is true to the series’ legal roots. Expect plenty of fascinating legal analysis from our heroes en route to the finish.

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