Posted in Book Review, Books I have read

Blood Tide – Claire McGowan

Crime Fiction
4*s

I have followed this series set in Ballyterrin with Paula McGuire our brave yet personally conflicted protagonist and enjoyed each and every new outing but the change in setting to Bone Island complete with lighthouse definitely added something quite special to the already enjoyable mix.

Paula McGuire is living with her daughter Maggie in her parent’s old house in Ballyterrin while the man who so nearly became her husband in A Savage Hunger is in jail accused of murder, refusing to see her. Paula is still searching for the truth about what happened to her mother many years ago during ‘The Troubles.’ What makes this series quite so believable is this backdrop of times both past and present to the forensic psychologist’s life.

A call comes through to Paula as her role as a missing person specialist; a couple have gone missing from Bone Island. The lighthouse where they live is locked from the inside but there is no sign of Matt Andrew, a keen ecologist or his partner, the local doctor Fiona Watts. With a violent storm raging and some seriously closed lipped locals the sense of danger is never far away in this atmospheric and creepy novel. The weather almost acts as a character in its own right, hindering the search for the missing, adding danger to the trip to the island and of course preventing anyone who might want or need to, from leaving for safety.

Paula is conflicted, she wants to see the island to remind herself of the last holiday she spent with her mother Margaret and father P.J. now retired but formerly a Roman Catholic RUC Officer. On the other hand she has left her daughter in the capable hands of her best friend with her father and his second wife Kathleen.

Paula is a professional and she does her best to get beyond the silence and the half-truths that she is being fed. What she needs to discover is whether this treatment is the same for all outsiders or is it reserved for their visit?

There are a number of strands to the storyline in this the most tense and action packed of the entire series. As well as the obvious link of missing people, both past and present, we have a strand to do with the environment as well as the hostility of the small community to outsiders, but throughout it all Paula’s complicated personal life is given equal dominance. A troubled sleuth is hardly a rarity in crime fiction but Paula has no obvious vices although perhaps the complications could have been kept at arm’s length if she hadn’t decided to return to Ballyterrin and even the most generous reader has to admit that she could do with being a little bit sensible over her choice of relationships.

We might be spending our time on a windswept island full of strangeness, secrets and suspicion but back home the private investigator is continue his enquiries into Margaret’s disappearance along with looking for evidence to free Aiden. Will there be success on either front? Well… you’ll need to read Blood Tide for yourself to find out!

I’d like to thank the publishers Headline for providing me with a copy of Blood Tide, this unbiased review is my thanks to them.

First Published UK: 23 March 2017
Publisher: Headline
No of Pages:  352
Genre: Crime Fiction – Series
Amazon UK
Amazon US

The Paula McGuire Series

The Lost
The Dead Ground
The Silent Dead
Savage Hunger

Author:

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

11 thoughts on “Blood Tide – Claire McGowan

  1. This one sounds like a really fascinating combination of ‘personal life’ story and ‘professional life’ story, Cleo. And the setting is irresistible. I can see how that alone drew you in! Glad you enjoyed this.

  2. I read at least the first book a few years ago and remember liking it. I have not continued the series, but fully intended to. I need to get back to it because I liked the writing and the characters. Probably need to read the first one again. 🙂

  3. I read this one without having read the previous books, which is not something I’d normally do, but the combination of the setting and the premise reeled me in! And I loved the island setting- very atmospheric. I enjoyed it a lot even if I was pretty lost with her backstory elements. I imagine if you’re read the previous ones that this was a great installment to move the story forward though! I liked Paula and Guy a lot, although yes- Paula’s relationship history is certainly complicated!

  4. I like the idea of a lighthouse being used as a kind of ‘locked room’ mystery – lighthouses are so atmospheric, I think. And windswept islands are always nicely scary too…

  5. This sounds darn good. i have a bit of a thing about lighthouses – would love to live in one though not if its on a remote island accessible only by a boat!

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