From the land of William Wallace and Robert the Bruce comes another intriguing crime novel in the Alex Morrow series by Denise Mina.
Given the ultimate literary test of being my Christmas Cruise 2015 chaise lounge book of choice, I am happy to announce that Blood Salt Water (Little, Brown and Company) indeed emerged a winner! A fast-paced read, the story kept me anxious to follow Detective Alex Morrow as she juggles her beloved family, rising small-town tension, and a police staff burdened by budget cuts, whilst struggling with her own insecurities and personal demons. Morrow’s strife is not unique in this idyllic Scottish landscape: a family secret, a troublesome conscience, a false identity… everyone in Helensburgh has a back-story—in this case, even a murderer.
The cadence of Helensburgh life is interrupted when a long-lost resident’s unexpected return home coincides with the disappearance of a new one. The missing woman, Roxanna Fuentecilla—glamorous and fiercely devoted to her children—piques Morrow’s curiosity, and her absence plays an integral role within a larger investigation.
A chef attempts to make it in a town unaccustomed to new fare, a body surfaces in Loch Lomond creating chaos, and arson takes the life of two cherished locals. Helensburgh is not unused to its own homegrown “prisony” thugs (with surprising guilty consciences), but all is not what it seems. It is up to Morrow and her steadfast partner to determine how the bizarre and macabre events intertwine while desperately attempting to avoid not only further loss of life, but ultimately kidnapping and possible evasion in this sleepy—now frightened—seaside town.
The Scottish vernacular plays a fun role in this interesting, up-to-date story, while offering up insight into the recent September Yes/No Referendum, which has potentially forged the future fate of Scotland.
A page-turner until the end with an always welcomed twist, you will enjoy this easy read that moves at a brisk pace so that you too may make your next excursion!
Shelley Haley is an eccentric artist, reader of novels, writer of chronicles fueled by an insatiable fascination with history and the lessons that lie therein, prone to wanderlust and born under the sign of Aquarius.
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