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4 Star IHIBRP Book Review: “Isle of OZ: An Accidental Adventure” by R.T. Graham

Plenty of comedic moments, drama, action, and adventure!

At only 120 pages, R.T. Graham’s “Isle of OZ: An Accidental Adventure” is a short but delightful read punched up by plenty of humorous dialogue between two spirited strangers but complete opposites, Olivia and Zack, who end up stranded together—first on the sea, then on a small desert isle—after their “island-hopper” suddenly goes down somewhere in the South Pacific. Fortunately for Olivia, Zack is a Navy Seal Commander whose keen survival skills keep the two of them alive, not to mention living quite comfortably, on the tiny deserted island hideaway until a gang of drug smugglers suddenly show up, putting the pair in dire peril.

Graham’s characters are perfect foils for each other as Olivia shells out few compliments and just enough putdowns to make Zack wish he had left his co-survivor floating in the ocean. Zack—or “Skippy”, as the irascible Olivia refers to him—has the patience of a saint … a very, very old saint who had to wait a long, long time before getting his heavenly reward, while the brazen and ungrateful Olivia could easily toss Kate from “Taming of the Shrew” right out of town! From the beginning moments of their initial meeting, Zack patiently tries and tries again to get Kate … I mean Olivia, to go beyond her current potential in order to survive, but she spurns him at every turn. I can’t blame Zack for feeling like he’s been kicked in the teeth every time he tries to show the least bit of kindness to his co-survivor, and I must confess that within a few hours of their initial meeting, I was growing fond of his imaginary plots to throw “Sassy”—his pet name for Olivia—overboard and dispose of her for good!

It’s amusing to watch a man and woman engage in a few adversarial contests to build up some sexual tension, however, the iceberg between Skippy and Sassy takes a little too long to melt. Graham develops Zack’s character well. His history with the Navy Seals is revealed as are his survival skills as the story moves along at a good pace. We read about his former relationship and the impact on him as it ended. But Olivia’s character is shallow and one-dimensional. Her sole purpose seems to be telling Zack that he is incompetent and boorish despite the fact that she regularly fantasizes about him, and I don’t mean as a sushi chef. In just a day or two, she appears to have about as much feeling for her awaiting fiancée as a cold fish, and when Zack finally starts to take an interest in her, I found myself praying that he would somehow come to his senses rather than fall in love with such an irritating and petulant brat. That being said, I felt Olivia’s personality could have benefitted from a major overhaul during the author’s editing process, making her more personable, likeable, and cooperative in both castaways efforts to survive.

The purpose of a story is to emotionally connect with the reader. Graham’s novel accomplishes this task well. Sure, Olivia is a stereotype of an ungrateful and haughty woman, but so was Shakespeare’s Kate whom we all grew to love by the end of the story. All in all, this tale was a good read, with plenty of comedic moments, drama, action, and adventure. And although I did not take well to Graham’s heroine in “Isle of OZ”, the author left me wondering if a prequel was being planned featuring Navy Seal Commander Zack. What more can I say than that to convince you this novel is well worth the read?!

Find R.T. Graham’s novel, “Isle of OZ: An Accidental Adventure” on Amazon and Kindle at


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