Kate Marshall – a former police detective, now works in a university as a lecturer in criminology alongside her young and talented research assistant. Kate is a 42 year old single mother whose teenage son lives with his grandmother, Kate’s own mother. Though she has been sober for the past several years, she continues to battle against the alcoholism which almost derailed both her work and home life. Now she lives in a cottage overlooking the sea in which she swims every morning, no matter the weather.
Tristan Harper – an intelligent and astute young man in his twenties. He is the perfect foil for Kate and their relationship wields an admirable balance. This time out we learn more about Tristan’s personal life.
While Kate and her son Jake dive in Shadow Sands reservoir, they want to see the flooded village. What they do see, near the submerged church steeple, is the body of a young man…
Kate wants to know why the young man ended up there. Her investigations reveal that this is not the first body to be found in the reservoir under questionable circumstances. She notes that the powerful and wealthy Baker family own the land surrounding the reservoir, and wonders if they could have any connection to the deaths. The dense fog seems to be a link in the disappearances. When Tristan’s acquaintance Magdalena disappears in the fog too, Kate and Tristan scramble to solve the case while there is still hope that she might be alive.“There’s nothing more terrifying than when the police have been corrupted and are working against you.”
Rich characterization and a page-turning plot makes for a fast-paced, though at times gruesome read. This is the second in the Kate Marshall series following “Nine Elms”. Anyone who missed reading the first novel in the series should have no qualms about reading “Shadow Sands” as enough background information is included that it reads very well as a stand-alone novel.
I enjoyed Kate Marshall’s character and her relationships with her assistant, and her son. All were rich and believable. Kate has more baggage than most women in their forties and she is working hard to leave it behind her – including her longing for alcohol. A ‘day at a time’ battle that she is determined to overcome.
The atmospheric locale where the man-made Shadow Sands Reservoir in situated added greatly to my enjoyment of the novel. First of all, I find the idea of flooded towns more than a little unsettling to begin with. Then, factor in the recently found bodies, and the area’s tendency to be mired down in almost impenetrable fog, well, it is just a creepy, and eerie setting.
The narrative is well-balanced between the ‘case’ and Kate’s home life. This time out her sixteen year old son Jake has requested he visit his father…
The investigation probes themes of police corruption, the power and influence of the wealthy, and how insignificant some people seem when they are missing with no one to look for them.
The ending was perfect and adeptly set the scene for the next Kate Marshall thriller which I already have loaded on my Kindle.
Highly, highly recommended to all lovers of gritty crime fiction.
This review was written voluntarily and my rating was in no way influenced by the fact that I received a complimentary digital copy of this novel from Thomas & Mercer via NetGalley.
Robert Bryndza began his career training at the Guildford School of Acting. He spent six years as an actor, doing all kinds of strange jobs in between, which was the perfect training for being an author. He began to write during a long period of unemployment, first comedy sketches, a show which he took to the Edinburgh Festival, and then four romantic comedy novels which he self-published, and they became Amazon charts bestsellers selling over 250,000 copies.
His debut crime thriller The Girl in the Ice was the first book in his Detective Erika Foster series. It has sold over 1 million copies in the English language, and won the Dead Good Reader Award for best kick-ass female character at the 2016 Harrogate Crime Festival. Erika Foster has gone on to kick-ass in five further books; The Night Stalker, Dark Water, Last Breath, Cold Blood and Deadly Secrets. The series was twice nominated in Goodreads Choice Awards (Mystery and Thriller category) in 2016 for The Girl in the Ice, and in 2017 for Last Breath. Robert’s books have sold over 3 million copies in the English language, and have been translated into 29 languages.
Nine Elms, the first book in his new Kate Marshall private detective series was first published late in 2019 and was an instant Amazon USA no.1 bestseller, an Amazon UK top 10 bestseller and topped bestselling charts around the world. The second book in the series, Shadow Sands, will be published in November 2020. Robert is British and lives in Slovakia.