The Driftwood Girls – Mark Douglas-Home

Kate and Flora Tolmie’s Mother went missing without a trace when they were very young, leaving them orphaned and alone. Now, 23 years later, Flora has gone missing and the only clue Kate has is a piece of paper with a name, Cal McGill.

Cal McGill is the so-called “Sea Detective”, an expert on winds and tides who uses what he knows to help predict where people and items lost at sea may turn up.

Finding Flora turns out to be the easiest part of his job but when his attentions turn to what happened to their Mother all those years ago he gets dragged into a much bigger story than he could ever have imagined.

“The Driftwood Girls” is due to be released on 9 January. I received a free eBook version in exchange for an honest review.

When I requested this from NetGalley I was intrigued by the plot and keen to try an author who would be new to me. What I didn’t realise was that this is actually the fourth book in a series about the Sea Detective. This did mean I was clearly missing a bit of back story but that was entirely my fault and actually reading this one has made me want to go back and read the others.

Douglas-Home’s writing is quite frenetic; there are several story threads running at the start and the link between them isn’t all that obvious at first but as the book goes on these threads start to weave together until we get the whole picture. This worked well and was definitely something I enjoyed but there were times when the switch between stories wasn’t very clear and happened part way through a paragraph so it would take me a second to realise the action had changed. This could be down to the formatting on the proof copy though.

The characterisation was good, I especially enjoyed the characters who were obviously new for this book as I didn’t have that feeling of missing parts of their back story. I definitely need to go and read the other three books as the interplay between Cal and his Police Detective friend, Helen Jamieson, was interesting and I’d like to see more of how they met. Cal also seemed a little cold to me but this was remarked upon within the book as being a character flaw and something he may work on in the future.

The action starts quite slow as Douglas-Home builds up the different stories but the second half of the book definitely ramps up the pace and the conclusion, with all the threads coming crashing together, was incredible. Even during the slower phase in the first half the writing still kept me gripped and I couldn’t wait to carry on reading.

I’ve read other crime fiction books, although I prefer true crime, and I liked the Sea Detective element to this as it made it different to others I’ve read. I’d definitely be interested in reading more as I really enjoyed the writing style and the content.

I gave this one ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️💫

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Filed under 4.5 Star Review, Fiction Reviews 2019, NetGalley

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