Dark Water, by J.S. Cook

After finishing the entire Shetland series of mystery novels and looking for something with a similar flavour, it was a natural choice to pick up the first in the Kildevil Cove series by local author J.S. Cook. I know from social media that Cook, like me, is a big fan of those Shetland books, and this series definitely has a similar feel, with the rocky and remote island in question being Newfoundland.

Danny Quirke is a police officer currently suspended from the force while an investigation is ongoing into the death of a suspect he was apprehending. He returns to the remote community where he was raised to attend his grandfather’s funeral, only to encounter his estranged best friend, wealthy businessman Taigh Heaney. There’s a lot of tension between these two old friends … and some of it is definitely sexual tension.

This novel, as the first in a series, is putting a lot of pieces in place and establishing a lot of things about the characters, their relationships, and the backdrop against which their story plays out. With so much happening, there’s not the single clear “whodunit” storyline you might expect from a mystery novel, but rather a lot of murky secrets from the past reaching their fingers into Danny’s and Taigh’s present-day lives. Mysteries are confronted and solved, but there’s no resolution as simple as “the butler did it” — rather a complicated tapestry of motives, some of which leave tantalizing threads that will hopefully be woven into the subsequent novels in the series.

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