A Suspense/Thriller ~ Island Bluffs by Alan A. Winter ~ Tour Review

Posted: July 29, 2015 in Blog Tour, reviews, suspense, thriller
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Island Bluffs banner

Title: Island Bluffs
Author: Alan A. Winter
Publisher: KBPublishing
Genre: Thriller/Suspense
Format: Kindle/Paperback


My Review

You’d never know it by the lovely cover, but this is a story that delves into the dark side.

And the title is an excellent choice as it can be construed different ways in the book.

Carly can’t conceive and she’s desperate to carry and deliver a child. She and her husband Gabe go above and beyond to have their baby, seeking help from a fertility specialist.

The doctor is supposed to work miracles and he does. Carly is now in her third trimester and it’s time to move.

When they first met with the doctor, he had some peculiar ideas. One deal breaker was, they had to move somewhere during the last trimester that was within a 30 minute drive of the clinic.

The other thing, the strange thing, is Carly must carry two embryos. One is from her and Gabe, the other is unknown. She will never see this other child. It belongs to the doctor.

Gabe is a boat nut. He never passes up a chance to be on the water. One day he spies a house on the peninsula of Island Bluffs. He’s inexplicably drawn to it. Despite Carly’s misgivings about the long empty and fixer upper, they buy it and move in.

So many angles in this book.

The strange doctor with his odd stipulations and deeply troubled past. What’s with the children? Why does he only want boys? My mind played havoc with the scenarios.

Megan, Gabe’s 17 year old daughter from his previous marriage. She’s still not over her mothers death and she’s playing the role of step-mother hate to the hilt. I had hopes she’d come around to Carly eventually. And her adoration and respect for her grandfather, Yehuda, is heartwarming.

You’ll like Yehuda. He’s a survivor of the holocaust, yet still sees good in people. He forms a friendship with Buck, the local eccentric and handy man. I loved their friendship.

Buck has his own story that ties into Carly and Gabe’s new house. Can’t tell you why though. Buck went off to war and had to leave his true love many years ago. When he returned he learned she’d gone missing and was never found. To this day, he still loves and misses her, and the police keep her yellowed missing poster up at the station in deference to him.

Then the house has a story. One that will surprise and chill you. Music is heard in the house when there’s no radio on. Voices are heard in the walls.

The town of Island Bluffs is shrouded in mystery. The people that live there are insular. They take time to warm up and accept the new family. And they keep many secrets.

This sounds like a horror thriller doesn’t it? You could call it that. But there’s mysteries in mysteries, darkness and light, and some very surprising revelations.

I was drawn in quickly and felt a connection to the characters. They each had their own flaws, which made them more genuine. I like strong characters and found plenty in this story.

Set aside some reading time when you start this. You won’t want any interruptions.

4 Stars



Island Bluffs is a story of love, forgiveness, and understanding the dark side of the human spirit. It explores the age-old question: are children accountable for the sins of their parents and grandparents?

Carly Mason is a successful New York City forensic dentist. She and her widower husband, Gabe Berk, are trying to start a family. Thinking they had exhausted the options by consulting with all of Manhattan’s fertility experts, Carly and Gabe learn of an eccentric scientist who runs an exclusive clinic.

The doctor commits to helping the couple conceive the baby they so desperately want, but only if they agree to what seems like an outrageous stipulation; Carly must carry twins, one biological and one that she is a surrogate for. Once the twins are born Carly has to surrender the non-biological twin to the doctor at birth, no questions asked. Further, should the old doctor die before Carly gives birth, she has to agree to give the baby the name chosen by the doctor.

As required for treatment, Carly and Gabe move into a new house, which is within thirty minutes of the clinic. They soon discover that their new home and town, Island Bluffs, are far from ordinary. Carly and Gabe feel eyes spying on them at every turn. Gabe’s father, Yehuda, hears strange noises that only he can hear. Megan, Gabe’s rebellious sixteen-year-old daughter from a previous marriage, is attracted to the son of a Neo-Nazi.

The mysteries continue to deepen as a scavenger ship appears on nearby waters searching for sunken treasure along with glimpses of a lone swimmer lumbering through the waves of Barnegat Bay. Island Bluffs is a present-day town bound to the past by horrible secrets and pacts made long ago. Keeping secrets buried as some had hoped was no longer an option for the Berks. Their new and some thought long-forgotten home made that impossible by putting them squarely in the middle of it all. When the truths are revealed, the shocking twists and turns will challenge the very notions of what is right and wrong.

Purchase Links

Amazon / B&N


Author Alan A. Winter

Alan Winter

At first blush, Alan is quick to say that he never intended to be a writer. But when he thinks about it, he’s been writing in one form or another, for his entire adult life. In college, he wrote paper after paper for his history and literature courses. Professionally, he edited a dental journal and wrote more than twenty
scientific papers. That still doesn’t explain how a dentist came to write fiction!

It started in 1982 when Alan made small talk with a patient about a sci-fi idea he had. She thought the idea was so terrific, she urged him to write a movie treatment about it. Alan dismissed her offhand. What did he know about writing movies?

The patient persisted. Each time she would visit his office, she would demand to see the finished movie treatment. Seeing she was serious and relentless, Alan agreed to hand her a treatment. But how? He had no clue where to start. Asking other patients for guidance, Alan was introduced to a young screenwriter who agreed – for a fee – to write the treatment. They worked together, produced a treatment, and shopped it around to a number of studios. One studio took the idea (without permission or payment) and turned Alan’s treatment into a movie.

Alan experienced two revelations at the time:

  1. Rather than waste energy being litigious, be flattered that a studio felt Alan’s idea was worthy of turning it into a movie. Knowing a stranger valued his creativity supported all of his future projects.
  2. 2. Collaborating with the screenwriter gave Alan the validation he needed that if and when he chose to write a book, it wouldn’t be foolhardy…not that it really mattered what others thought!

3. Still, Alan had no desire to write fiction. That changed in 1985. That was the year that Alan began writing his first novel, “Someone Else’s Son,” which was eventually published by MasterMedia, Ltd.

What prompted Alan to write “Someone Else’s Son” is a story in itself. When Alan completed his periodontal training at Columbia, he joined a prestigious Fifth Avenue periodontal practice. Day after day, the well-to-do, prominent patients asked Alan if he was old enough to be a dentist. (He looked that much younger than the two senior partners). Trying to convince the patients that he was old enough to be a dentist and, therefore, experienced enough to treat them, Alan put his two sons’ pictures on the treatment room wall. When his third son was born, he added that one, too. Every few months, he updated the photos.

But a curious thing happened on a daily basis. The patients kept asking why Alan had pictures of children on the wall. When he replied, “They’re not just any children; those are my sons,” no one believed him. They claimed the boys looked too dissimilar to be brothers. They joked that he must have taken the wrong one home from the hospital. Though this was not the case (at least he didn’t think so), Alan wondered what he would’ve done had he discovered, years later, that he and his wife had brought the wrong child home from the hospital. The result was “Someone Else’s Son.”

While maintaining his periodontal practice, Alan has continued to write since he first took up pen to paper, although now he is very appreciative that his mother forced him to take typing in summer school after his sophomore year of high school. Boys just didn’t do that back in the ’60s, but it has been an invaluable skill over the years.

In 1999, “Snowflakes in the Sahara” was published by iUniverse. “Savior’s Day,” also published by iUniverse, was published in 2013 to critical acclaim. It was selected by Kirkus Reviews as a Best Book of 2013.

“Island Bluffs,” Alan’s newest novel, is published by KB Publishing to excellent reviews. He is at work on his next novel, “The Legacy of Izaak Wolf,” about an adolescent with Asperger’s Syndrome achieves the near impossible to save his family from a surefire calamity.

Alan and Lori live in his native New Jersey. They have five children and five grandchildren.

For More Information

Visit Alan’s website.

Twitter / Facebook


Follow the tour

July 6

Book featured at Undercover Book Reviews

July 7

Book featured at My Life, Loves and Passions

July 8

Book featured at The Literary Nook

July 9

Interviewed at The Writer’s Life

July 13

Interviewed at C.A. Milson

July 14

Guest blogging at Mythical Books

July 15

Book featured at Mary’s Cup of Tea

July 16

Guest blogging at Mom with a Kindle

July 17

Interviewed at Review from Here

July 20

Book featured at Chosen by You Book Club

July 21

Interviewed at As the Page Turns

July 22

Book featured at Confessions of a Reader

July 23

Interviewed at I’m Shelf-ish

July 24

Book featured at Celticlady’s Reviews

July 27

Guest blogging at Bent Over Bookwords

July 28

Book featured at Voodoo Princess

July 29

Book reviewed at FUOnlyKnew

July 30

Book reviewed at A Room Without Books is Empty

July 31

Book featured at Lover of Literature


Until the next time…..

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  1. taylordeanbooks says:

    Fascinating review and synopsis. I’m hooked. I could easily see this premise as a movie. I would never agree to such terms. On the other hand, if I were desperate to have a child I suppose I would. No, I know I would. Enter creepy doctor . . .

  2. atothewr says:

    That cover is one of the better ones I’ve seen in a while. Just draws you in.

  3. I am loving that frickin’ cover. LOL Sounds creepily fantastic.

    sherry @ fundinmental