By Winona Kent
Printed June 1, 2012
CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
Under $5.00 - Buy it at Amazon
"Forget The Love Boat. It's now. It's Alaska. And ship's entertainer Jason Davey hates that theme song. After the death of his makeup artist wife, musician Jason runs away to sea, joining the aging, much-adored and soon-to-be-retired Star Sapphire. But a frightening shipboard incident and a psychic friend's dire warning shatter Jason's fragile sense of security. And when three passengers from Jason's past - delusional stalker SaylerGurl; eccentric aging actress Diana Wyndham; and hard-drinking ex-rocker Rick Redding - embark in Vancouver, the Sapphire's final cruise to Juneau, Skagway and Glacier Bay becomes a trial by fire and ice for Jason, his beloved ship, and everyone on board."
Kent starts the story off quickly with drama and action. It's the middle of the night, wee hours of the morning, nearly all the passengers are asleep in their cabins, when a musician aboard, Jason Davey, happens upon the smell of something burning.
While he wants to run, to save himself, he feels compelled as a result of his training to aid and assist with the reporting and containment of the fire, then to assist passengers, who are bewildered, squinting from the sudden exposure to light, wearing their pajamas which are still warm from being snuggled beneath the blankets on their cabin beds.
While the novel is fiction, the event is very real, as terrifying as it gets on a real cruise ship in the real world. Kent tells the story likes she's experienced it herself, with thoughts and actions melding to create the kind of excitement typically felt in a real life cruise ship fire. I wonder about her realism and decide to investigate her, as if this book review was a real incident at sea. What I uncovered stunned me, as it will you.
My first stop was the Cold Play Blog
she rarely updates, with talk about her past, her education, her passion and failures. She talks about her life on Twitter and Facebook, about personas she's had, some good, some bad and some, well. .. crazy, by her own admission. From this, I began to put together a picture in my mind of who Canadian Winona Kent really is and how she came to write the book sitting on my desk right now.
Then I discover the most surprising thing I've seen in a long time, when it comes to novels and authors. Kent has gone above and beyond, no, far beyond, conventional marketing for Cold Play, she's created a website. While typical book websites are bland, all about me, yada, yada, yada unremarkable websites, Kent's website is ground-breaking.
She's created a cruise line and their cruise ship as if the cruise line was real, assembling everything a typical potential passenger would expect to see, and more. The only thing missing is the option to book the cruise online. The cruise line website, complete with company logo, is designed to create a complete image of StarSea Cruises' Star Sapphire, as if the reader had actually been aboard the ship. I found myself actually looking for the passenger ticket contract.
There is a deck plan diagram, a tour of the bridge, daily activity schedule and daily menus with photographs of the menus that look exactly like real cruise ship menus. No detail missed, there is also a bar drink menu. At this point, I'm thinking I'm on the cruise, living the dream; it's all very real. Leaving no detail out, that the avid cruiser would miss, there's a Captain's Log. That only scratches the surface of the length Kent has gone to make Star Sapphire real in the minds of her readers.
She presents the history of the ship, photographs of the cruise ship as she sailed in days gone by, color photographs of the public rooms and a cut-away diagram of the decks within. There is also a page for information related to the engine room and the internal workings of the ship.
The first stop, when you decide to read Cold Play, should be the Cold Play Companion Cruise Line Website. Familiarize yourself with the ship, browsing each page, soaking in what the Star Sapphire has to offer her passengers. Spend an hour or so browsing the menus, the deck plans, the photographs, then open the cover to the book and enjoy. Don't forget to let others know what a unique reading experience you've enjoyed, in hope that a sequel will be forth coming.
Bravo Winona Kent! Bravo!