A pregnant manatee is rare at any zoo, and a first for the Grove City Zoo in Ohio. Ankh is a delight to zoo patrons, a concern to its staff, and the unintentional victim of two con men. She has no idea how many human relationships, problems, and dreams tangle around her.
Jerry is a young developmentally disabled man who happily follows Ankh's pregnancy on the zoo's webcam. He has a shy crush on Janelle, a pretty college student who volunteers for his group home’s outings to the zoo.
Jerry's Aunt Vera also loves nature and runs an environmental retreat center. But all is not well, with Vera or the center. The center needs money and is under investigation as a cult.
Amid their college studies, Janelle and her friend Cecily try to help. Instead, Janelle re-awakens an old obsession in Vera when an innocent tarot reading hints at how the center might be saved.
Two bumbling con men are attempting to sabotage the region’s electrical grid as part of a lucrative scheme. But Jerry accidentally gets in their way and becomes their captive.
When the con men surprisingly succeed in bringing the grid down, it spells danger for Ankh, her unborn pup, and the many people tied to them both. With investigations of their own, Cecily and Janelle try to untangle it all to find Jerry, save a manatee’s life, and rescue Vera from herself.
Tangled Ties to a Manatee is a humorous crime thriller with environmental themes that is revealed through multiple points of view. The novel emphasizes college-aged characters, though not all, such as the developmentally disabled ones, are in college.
Tangled Ties to a Manatee definitely lives up to its title. There are numerous characters, as promised in the blurb, and I almost needed a scorecard to keep everyone straight--especially at the beginning. By the end of the book, however, each character's voice came through clearly and it was easier to remember all the relationships between the characters.
My favorite character is Jerry--Mr. Cap captured him perfectly--with my second favorite POV character being Ankh. Yes, the manatee herself is a POV character--and Mr. Cap handled it well.
The book is well-written except for some very minor copy-editing issues (as an example, using click instead of clique). Things like that took me out of the story briefly, but the storyline itself was intriguing. Once I got used to the way the story was written and started putting the pieces "together", I really enjoyed it.
Even though the book is not written specifically for the YA audience (the characters are older that YA), the book still has a YA feel to it, and I believe would be a book many young adults/older teens would enjoy. About the Author:
Tangled Ties to a Manatee is his debut novel.
He has had poetry published and several plays, both one act and full-length, produced locally. Two short stories have been published as well. "Feral" is a short story published in Off the Rocks, v. 14, ed Allison Fradkin, NewTown Writers Chicago, 2010, pp. 119-126. "Transforming Oracle" is a self-published short story available at Smashwords.
Kalen’s website is www.KalenCap.com.
He can be readily connected with through the following social media profiles –
Google+ : http://gplus.to/Kalencap