15 December 2017

Dark Water


By Simon Thould

Paparback 306 pages
Publisher Thistle Publishing (30th Jun 2017)
ISBN-13 978-1786080271

📕My Review

Ex-soldier Alex Rafter has inherited his Uncle Max's house on the edge of the New Forest. Although he's lived there for several months, he's still somewhat regarded as an outsider. When a woman called Madeleine knocks on his door claiming her teenage daughter Jac has gone missing, she asks for Rafter's help in tracking her down. Along with his recently rescued dog Lonely, Rafter sets off for the pub to discover what the locals know about Madeleine. He forms a friendship with publican Gabriel, also an ex-soldier, his wife Li Li and pub regular Ferret. Together they become embroiled in a plan to rescue Jac from the clutches of an Albanian sex trafficking gang.

Although I enjoyed this book, a few things quickly became annoying. Firstly, I very much disliked the focus on alcohol. Yes, I got the idea that Rafter was a hard-drinking individual with a penchant for vodka, but it seemed to be thrust at me at every opportunity and rapidly became annoying. Secondly, everyone appeared to be drink or drug-driving without consequences, which really irritated me. I wanted to like the characters but I didn't and this was huge hurdle I couldn't get over.

The story was entertaining and I particularly enjoyed Rafter's relationship with his dog Lonely. The main protagonists - Rafter, Gabriel, Li Li and Ferret - were developed to a good standard but somehow didn't feel 'real'. Rebecca felt too contrived and her character didn't 'go' anywhere; she just fizzled out. The writing flowed very well and the pacing was excellent but it didn't quite hit the mark for me.

My thanks to author Simon Thould and David Haviland at Andrew Lownie Literary Agency for providing a copy of this book.

Barnsey's Books Rating 

📗The Blurb

A girl goes missing – but has she been lost, or taken? Her frantic mother begs for help from the one man with the ruthless skills to track her down. Alex Rafter, former sniper, sees Madeleine Finch as a bad, erratic mother, and is reluctant to go back to a life he is trying to forget. But his own nightmares compel him to search, for the girl's sake.

Rafter embarks on a murderous hunt, aided by Gabriel Montero, another former soldier, that leads through the wilds of the New Forest to the squalid back streets of Southampton. Rebecca Grant, local veterinary, drug addict and would-be lover, offers help, but her own agenda threatens to send Rafter astray. It becomes a race against time to find the girl before she is lost forever to the heartless world of people traffickers.

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