I normally read sci-fi and a bit of fantasy for my fiction, and decided to dip my toe into a contemporary ‘thriller’ type novel to see what it’s like nowadays. Usually I’ll stick with the bestsellers such as Crichton for this type of novel but I’m happy to give an unfamiliar (to me) author a try.
The story revolves around a mother of 2 and starts on the day her husband goes missing in a boat during a massive storm. It is written from the perspective of the mother who you are meant to empathise with, however there are hints of a disturbing past drip-fed throughout the story. It certainly makes you wonder who you’re meant to be cheering for as the story progresses, which is interesting. I think overall this part was well-done you’re not sure if you’re reading the hero’s thoughts, or the instigator’s. The community of the small English coastal town is done well also, although having been to Cornwall and watched programmes based there, there seems to be a lack of true local flavour in the dialects and the sorts of characters you expect to see in that kind of place. Only a few supporting characters stick out while others have maybe too MUCH character. So for me in some ways there’s not enough characterization, and in other places there’s too much.
Story-wise, while there were certainly some surprises leading up to the climax of the story, I felt that the ‘shocker’ moments usually weren’t really strong enough to justify some of the reviewer comments that promised colossal-sized ‘OMG!!’ moments. That, or these ‘shocks’ were explained a bit too soon after the BIG REVEAL.
There’s also hints of out-of-place story lines from some of characters, which aren’t hinted at (or not hinted enough) in the early part of the story, so these kind of come out of nowhere. While I do like some stories that have this ‘uhh where are we going now?’ feel to them that’s not really what I came into this novel with, so it just felt a little out of place. But it does provide enough misdirection I suppose, so maybe it works?
The other issue I had in general was that while I think this was a pre-release sample, the Kindle formatting was really all over the place. Some sentences had spaces missing between the words but the biggest issue was that many lines on most pages had a single word on a line with the rest of the sentence above and below.
Overall, though, the story leads to an interesting and quite unexpected (maybe not-hinted-at-enough?) climax, which more than makes up for any possible shortcomings with the rest of the story. It’s fast-paced and reads like a thriller movie in most places, so I’d give it a thumbs-up.