Author: Linda Hall
Length: 247 pages
Published: 10 October 2014
My Rating: 4/5
I received an electronic copy of this novel from the author in exchange for an honest review.
Em Ridge has just received her captains license and is on her first job: transporting Blue Peace, a luxury yacht owned by a powerful millionaire. When a girl goes overboard, Em's dream job becomes a nightmare. Now all the ghosts from Em's past are coming back to haunt her. With her husbands death still fresh in her mind, Em has to face the reality that the suspicions surrounding her husbands untimely death and the mystery unfolding around Blue Peace are somehow connected.
The writing: While not as polished as many authors I've read before, this novel was well written and the sentence structure was fluid and kept me reading. Hall is definitely an expert at Cliff hangers. I would get to the end of a chapter thinking that would be my last one, only to be pulled in more deeply. A skill that many authors could use more of.
That cover is pretty cool, right? Definitely intriguing. The story sounded very compelling, so I was really excited to read it. And it did not disappoint. There are many things I liked about this novel, but here are some of the broader, more general areas that kept me interested.
The mystery: I love the ocean. I am no expert on boats and the technical lingo used throughout this novel, but getting caught up in the world of a ship captain was wonderful. The mystery surrounding the girl overboard and Em's late husband Jesse and how those stories intersected was very well thought out and presented. An observant reader can spot the bigger picture of where the story is heading from near the beginning, but the finer details give the story enough suspense to keep you on your toes.
The characters: The story is told in first person from Em's perspective, so the reader is inside her head the entire time. The narrative has a very casual tone, like Em is just telling her tale to an old friend. The supporting characters (both good and bad guys) are well developed and plenty is left open to explore characters more in the future installments. Kricket-the daughter of the yacht owner-while not involved very much is rather intriguing, Tom-another captain that Em knows from only brief meetings-is, well you will just have to form your own opinion of this smooth talker. Ben-the detective in charge of the investigation-has his own demons and I'm interested to see if we find out more about him in the next novel. All of Em's neighbors on Chalk Spit are the exact neighbors I wish I had! I love every single one of them. The coroner is also a great character and provides an easy way for the two interwoven mysteries to come together for the reader. There are more characters, but these are the ones that stand out.
Now, for the reason this novel is getting only a 4 instead of a 5 star rating. Em. I know, I know. I just said I like Em, and I do, I really do. But goodness can this woman be frustrating. It's not that she's too realistic, although, I admit, she does seem very real. There are times when her character seems to slip back into teenage mode, questioning her experience. Everyone has insecurities, but this seemed over the top to me. I could, however, overlook most of this because of her still aching heart after her husbands suspicious death.
What I could not overlook was her inability to read people. Not necessarily inability, but to misread or see only what she wanted to see. There were times when I literally shook my fist at the screen saying "what are you thinking!? It's obviously a lie!" and similar things. For being as smart as she is and working so closely with people like she does (even if they are mostly solitary individuals) should have equipped her with a little more sense in regards to those around her. This was my only drawback, Em was just too oblivious to what was right in front of her so many times.
Overall this is a great novel and I highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys a good mystery novel. Particularly if you like mysteries set on the coast/water. Definitely an intriguing setting. This novel could easily be either adult or young adult, depending on your preferences. Happy reading! Let me know if you read the novel and what you think.
Until next time. This has been your book loving friend,