Posted in Book Review, Books I have read

The Cold Cold Sea – Linda Huber

Psychological Thriller 4*'s
Psychological Thriller

This book was compelling reading although at times I wanted to do so from behind a cushion as every parent’s nightmare unfolds over 256 pages. This book is almost understated in tone but beware it is full of raw emotions and drills into your mind making it a book that you won’t easily forget.

I was instantly dragged into memories of summer days sat on the beach entertaining children with rock pools and sandcastles. For Olivia’s mother Maggie she felt hurt when her daughter spurned her attention and wanted to look in the rock pools with her father Colin and big brother Joe, with the Cornish beach empty she makes her way across to them and Maggie pours herself a cup of coffee and waits for them to return for biscuits. When the Colin and Joe make their way back there is the awful realisation that Olivia is missing. Colin’s reaction isn’t sugar-coated, he is furious with his wife and when the search finds no trace of the little girl he goes with his son to his parent’s house leaving Maggie to wait for the return of her daughter.

A few weeks later teacher Katie who is preparing her classroom for the infants starting at the private school where she works, she’s a little nervous and easily intimidated by the mothers who look like they’ve stepped out of glamorous magazines but soon she has sufficiently worried about Hailey Marshall to visit her mother. Disturbed by the lack of feeling Jennifer Marshall shows her young daughter she talks to her colleagues who soon reassure her that with Jenifer Marshall pregnant with twins and her husband Peter away caring for his sick grandmother that hormones and tiredness are the most likely cause.

In this clever story it is easy to work out exactly what Jennifer’s problem is and as the story drags you along through difficult scene after scene it felt like watching a slow-motion car crash. I knew the fall-out would be enormous but kept reading to find out who for. The plot is audacious but keeps to just the right side of believable when you take everything the author tells us into account. The story is told from the three women’s points of view; Maggie, Jennifer and Katie all mull over their feelings as they try to make sense of what is happening. I did find the narrative a little lacking in interaction and conversation due to this introspection but given the nature of the storyline it served well in adding to the tension which mounts until the superb ending.

I’d like to thank Legend Press for giving me a copy of this novel in return for this honest review and since I haven’t read Linda Huber’s debut novel, The Paradise Trees, it has gone onto my list of books I must have.

Warning – Parents don’t read this book at the beach particularly if you need to keep an eye on the children!


A book lover who clearly has issues as obsessed with crime despite leading a respectable life

13 thoughts on “The Cold Cold Sea – Linda Huber

  1. Cleo – It does sound like one of those novels that draws you in almost because it’s understated, if I can put it that way. And the premise sounds thoroughly frightening but believable. Add to that a solid writing style and I can see why you were absorbed in the story.


    1. The premise is absolutely terrifying and sadly only too easy to imagine – I was totally drawn in to this book and it was one of those that I was reluctant to put down as I wanted to know how everything turned out.


  2. Sounds intriguing! I always think it must actually be harder to deal with a child going missing than being murdered – not knowing what might be happening to it. Terrifying…


    1. I agree and the thought of the child missing all that is familiar to them and not being able to protect them is too awful to contemplate – I’m going to be honest though as I don’t think you’d like the narrative voice of this one.


      1. It didn’t completely appeal to me anyway, to be honest – you know I’m restricting myself to your 5-star reviews at the moment… 😉 But I still always enjoy reading your reviews even if the book isn’t one I feel I must read.


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