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Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite
The Boy in the Suitcase: The Concealing Sea, Book 1 is a novel of suspense written by N.V. Baker. Lena Albright was no stranger to the concept of ending one’s life; indeed, she had made several foolish attempts when she was still a child. The first had been an awful experience as the household chemicals she had ingested had led to agonizing pain and the emergency room. Her second attempt, a slashed wrist, was foiled by her brother, who quietly bandaged her wound and calmed her down. Nothing was ever said to anyone, especially their mom. Lena was somewhat older now. Her brother lived in New Mexico, and they didn’t see much of each other, and the niece she had bought this Baltic Sea cruise for had cancelled, Lena suspected, because of her mother’s disapproval of Lena’s life style. Lena was still a Goth; it was who she was, even if many in her community had grown away from the shared fellowship. As she stared into the chilly depths of the Baltic, somewhat dispirited by her lone traveler status, her reverie was broken by a boy’s voice asking if she was going to jump. Startled at his perceptiveness, she turned and saw the boy she had had a meeting of minds with during a tour of Rakvere Castle on the Estonian coast. Very few had ventured down into the torture chamber known as Hell Maze, and their shared delight at having braved the experience was still fresh in her mind.
N.V. Baker’s novel of suspense, The Boy in the Suitcase, is a haunting and beautifully written tale of the friendship between a Goth woman who’s recovering from a recent romantic breakup and a young transgender boy dreading the inevitable approach of puberty, all taking place on a most intriguing cruise along the Gulf of Finland. Add to it, the strange and creepy woman Carter believes is stalking him, even if his parents love her, and Marcus, the good-looking man traveling with an aged father, who Lena finds to be intriguing, and you’ve got the recipe for a novel that kept me happily engaged and reading until I reluctantly turned over the last page. I especially appreciated the sensitive and empathetic treatment Baker gives to both her main characters, and her articulate descriptions of the issues facing transgendered youth. I’m looking forward to the second book in this series. The Boy in the Suitcase: The Concealing Sea, Book 1 is most highly recommended.