I’m delighted to be back in the saddle sharing a review for Dark Waters by Mary-Jane Riley. expertly crafted, this third instalment in the Alex Devlin series weaves together multiple story lines, intrigue, personal drama, and a substantial dosage of suspense. If you’re a fan of investigative mysteries and crime thrillers, this one is definitely for you!
Title: Dark Waters
Author: Mary-Jane Riley
Publisher: Killer Reads
Publication Date: March 16, 2018
Genre: Psychological Thriller, Suspense, Murder Mystery
Themes: Murder, Suicide, Family, Journalism
My Rating: 4.5/ 5
A darkly compelling psychological thriller, full of twists and turns, perfect for fans of Louise Jensen, Cass Green and Alex Lake.
Secrets lie beneath the surface…
Two men, seemingly unconnected, are discovered dead in a holiday boat on the Norfolk Broads, having apparently committed suicide together.
Local journalist Alex Devlin, planning an article on the dangers of internet suicide forums, starts digging into their backgrounds.
But Alex’s investigation soon leads her to a much darker mystery – one that will hit closer to home than she could possibly have imagined, and place the lives of those she loves in terrible danger.
I seem to be on a role when it comes to jumping into established series, and Dark Waters is was no exception. With two previous novels already on the table, I wasn’t certain what to expect. But once again I was pleasantly surprised at how easy it was to open the book on Alex’s life without once feeling lost in her personal storyline.
Picture this, a book opens with a journalistic expose on extreme couponing, and then within a few pages it magically morphs into an investigative mystery with some serious intensity. That, my friends, is exactly what you can expect from Dark Waters. What I enjoyed most about this book was that the protagonist is actually a reporter rather than an officer, which allows for a fresh perspective in an occasionally overdone genre. It facilitated a focus that rested entirely on the characters rather than the process, and genuinely made the minutiae come alive.
This shift in focus also allowed for a full exploration of the suicide forum story line, as well as for the motivations behind both the victims and assailants. It was fun though, to see the coppers popping up around every corner, working as a reminder that Alex’s actions bordered on criminal herself as at times they toed the line of obstructing justice rather than obtaining it.
I really enjoyed how Alex reared her head from doing fluff pieces to investigating a series of murders staged as suicides. But, more than anything I particularly appreciated how Alex not only recognized the constraints of the patriarchal system she was working within but used that system to her advantage. The interplay between Alex, her editor, and her cocky male colleague created enough tension in those character driven moments to keep the plot from ever feeling stagnant. Now add in her complicated love life, a lonely existence, and her son living away from home for the first time and you’ve got a recipe for excitement – forget the multiple murders!
The writing is fun, varied, and the dashes of outside perspective keep you on your toes. Alex is easy to empathize with, you feel her pain as a mother and how the paranoia of such a case can seep into every aspect of your life, and end up utterly wrapped up in the depths of the investigation. Would I recommend it? Oh hells yes! It punchy, complex, and one heck of a ride.
Read it mystery lovers – this one is hard to guess!
Many thanks to Mary-Jane Riley, Killer Reads, and NetGalley for providing a copy in exchange for an honest review.