Friday, January 11, 2013

Dark Tide by Elizabeth Haynes

The author of the acclaimed debut thriller Into the Darkest Corner returns with a taut, gripping murder mystery featuring a compelling heroine who unwittingly finds herself caught in an underworld of murder, corruption, and betrayal.

The first time Genevieve saw it, she knew it was the one: Revenge of the Tide, "an odd sort of a name for a boat." Genevieve had finally escaped the stressful demands of her London sales job and achieved her dream--to leave the city behind and start a new life aboard a houseboat in Kent. She left the boat's name as it was. Revenge had character after all, and living in a marina made her feel a bit safer, a little less lonely; almost as if the boat looked after her, hid her away from view.

But her dreams are shattered the night of her boat-warming party when a body washes up, and to Genevieve's horror, she recognizes the victim as a close friend from nights dancing on-stage at a private members' club, the Barclay. She isn't about to tell the police, though; next to no one knew what Genevieve did every Friday and Saturday night to save money for her escape, and she sees no reason to reveal her past. The death can't have anything to do with her. Or so she thinks.

Soon the lull of the waves against Revenge feels anything but soothing, as Genevieve begins to receive mysterious calls and can't reach the one person who links the present danger with her history at the club. And then there is the parcel on her boat she's meant to be safekeeping for an old flame, which seems to be putting her in jeopardy. As Genevieve begins to fear for her safety, she recalls the moment when it had all started to go horribly wrong: the night she recognized her day-time boss in the crowd of customers at the Barclay. . . .

I love a good thriller. Pretty much everyone does, so when I was given a chance to review this one, I gladly took it on. It wasn’t what I was expecting, not by a long shot.

The story starts out well, a bit slow in giving away details about the protagonist, but that happens sometimes in thrillers, to build up the suspense. The problem is that we never really get that suspense. The story moves from the past to the present, taking us back to Genevieve’s days as a stripper and bringing us to where she is at the moment, in a marina with the boat she is trying to renovate. If it sounds disjointed, it’s because it is. The whole book feels like that. I was hoping there’d be some great revelation that would bring all the parts together, but, although the author made an attempt at such a resolution, it was weak, at best.

The other problem was Genevieve herself. We never get a sense of who she is. She just does things because the author wants her to do them. There’s just no real reasoning or emotional resonance behind her actions. This makes for a weak character. One we just can’t believe exists.

This is one of those books that just doesn’t deliver the thrills it promises. A disjointed story together with a dull, wooden character makes for a very poor story, of any kind, but especially a thriller.


Kirthi said...

Hi Valentina!
I've been looking for thrillers to read recently! I might not add this one, the premise doesn't sound like something I'd like and I trust your review :D Thanks!

Have a great weekend!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the honest review. I love a murder mystery and would be drawn in easily by the synopsis alone, however, I don't believe that I could get past the undeveloped character, for starters.
- The Readingista