Return to Sandara: Mark Rubinstein
Guilt is a powerful and destructive force and can play on a person’s brain and be just as deadly as a gunshot perfectly placed symmetrically between the victim’s eyes. Sometimes a simple innocent can lead to a tragic mistake and all of the recriminations and regrets in the world will not change the end result or the outcome. Living with his burden for over forty years, Gabriel recounts his visit to the village of Sandara on Spain’s Costa Brava, as author Mark Rubinstein takes us inside the mind of a 20 year old college student that finds himself riddled with pain, sorrow and a reoccurring nightmare that will haunt him his entire life. “ I will go to my grave filled with remorse for what I did to my brother.” But, forty years later he is going back to where it all began to either reconcile in his own mind what happened, to decide if circumstances intervened in what would finally be everyone’s fate or whether he could have done something else to avoid what the reader will learn at the end. Filled with suspense, a touch of the unknown and mystery author Mark Rubinstein gives the reader all the information needed to decide whether Gabriel’s guilt, remorse and heavy heart are founded or not! Get on the plane along with him, hear that phone call from Rome that would change his life and others forever and land in this hot and dusty place and Return to Sandara along with Gabriel. See the magnificent beaches, the cheap motels and the outdoor cafes. Meet Luke so charismatic and a female magnet and enter a place where corruption, graft and deception reigns and hopefully you and Luke and Gabriel will find your way out!
Gabriel is our narrator who expertly relates his journey from start to finish as he and his older brother, Luke visit this beautifully described and vividly depicted village for a summer of fun, excitement and reconnection. But, things spiral out of control from the start as they enjoy the beaches, meet some really beautiful girls and befriend some of the locals. Strange occurrences and unusual alliances as both brothers who are so diametrically different in appearance, countenance and demeanor realize that having fun might be want they want but something within Gabriel’s vision within the parameters of the beach leads him to believe that a storm is brewing.
Characters that fill the 100 pages with their many different personalities, their motives and their behaviors that might make readers wonder why anyone would go to Sandara. The beaches, the cafes the people and the ambiance alone made it worth if for Luke and Gabriel to spend their time there and get to see past the façade of the scenery and get to know the real Sandara. With a heavy heart Gabriel relives his time and only you the reader when everything is said and done will decide if what he feels and has felt in his heart is justified.
Loyalty, friendship, love, deceit, lies, betrayals, corruption and greed are just some of the issues that are brought to light in this outstanding novella. One man’s haunting guilt will plague him until he comes to grips with the past, the place where it all began and Returns to Sandara to make peace with not only what happened but also himself. Once again author Mark Rubinstein has great a story that will give readers much pause for thought as we enter the mind of a young man who just wanted to bond with his brother and return home to his studies. Influences and upbringings might be the same but sometimes two brothers joined together by the same parents are really separated in more ways than one.
Fran Lewis: Reviewer