I want to thank Goodreads and Minotaur Books for the chance to read this ARC in exchange for an honest review.
If this review sounds interesting to you, The Drowning Sea will be published on June 21, 2022! I’ll post again on its release date and let everyone know to check it out from their local bookstore or library!
The Drowning Sea by Sarah Stewart Taylor is a murder mystery taking place in a small seaside town in southern Ireland. Our protagonist is Detective Maggie D’arcy, who recently resigned from her position in New York to take the summer off with her daughter Lilly to explore a potential move to Ireland. Joining them on this vacation are Maggie’s boyfriend Conor and his son Adrien. But soon after they arrive in the small town of Ross Head, the body of construction worker Lukas Adamik is found in the water—months after he disappeared, and everyone assumed he’d gone home to Poland.
Maggie spends time getting to know the residents of the town, unable to stop herself from prying into the mystery of Lukas’s death and the seemingly unconnected mystery of the Anglo-Irish manor house located on the peninsula. Slowly, the mystery ravels and unravels around Ross Head, and Maggie soon finds out just how many secrets a small town can keep.
I was enthralled by this story. Just like Maggie, I couldn’t put it down. I love mysteries and The Drowning Sea did a very good job of pulling me in and keeping me in anticipation of the ending. Small town mysteries are tedious things, too. It’s easy to believe that small towns have many secrets and an interconnectedness that doesn’t exist in large cities. But having all of the relationships between the characters make sense so that everyone keeps everyone else’s secrets is harder. Sarah Stewart Taylor does a great job of building character relationships. It’s also important that Maggie plays an integral role in uncovering what happened—the outsider is the one who doesn’t owe loyalty to anyone in the town.
The plot felt well-paced and at the right length. Pacing is important in a mystery since the protagonist and the reader need to find out so many details at the exact right time. We need just enough to have a guess at who it could be and be able to narrow that guess down over the course of the novel, but not enough to figure out who it is and how they did it. I feel that The Drowning Sea followed this perfectly. I spent time trying to figure it out about halfway through, but nothing I guessed was right. I was close on one aspect, but that’s really not a lot.
The length of the novel was perfect. It took a bit of time to get into the beginning because of the introduction of so many characters, but it was completely necessary so that the rest of the mystery could unfold without any introductions getting in the way. The plot wasn’t extended past what was reasonable either. Once someone thought they’d figured it out, things moved swiftly towards the climax. The denouement was brief and informative, setting the scene for where I assume the next novel will take place.
Overall, it was lovely to read about a new and different place through a suspenseful plot and an intelligent heroine. I haven’t read the first two books in the Maggie D’arcy series, but I’ll be checking those out of my library very soon to catch up so that I can continue with this series in the future. If you decide to check out this book come June 21, 2022, let me know what your thoughts are! Did you figure out whodunnit before the end? How’d you know?
Here is the link to the Goodreads page, where you can find links to purchase the novel:
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