I’ve read some great new thrillers lately, and this one continues with that trend.
The Lost Swimmer is Australian Turner’s debut novel, but she’s not exactly a novice, having screenwriting and movie direction in her resume, and I think it shows in the easy confidence of her writing.
Rebecca is an archaeology professor at an Australian university, and the opening few chapters shows how she is struggling to come to terms with her position of middle management: paperwork and budgets and juggling staff. Her stress levels rise considerably when she has to deal with the university dean, the vindictive Priscilla. Things go from bad to worse when a major discrepancy in the university finances is discovered, and Rebecca is the main suspect.
Rebecca makes the decision to keep the investigation into her university finances a secret from her husband, Stephen, who in turn seems to have some secrets of his own, so many that she starts to wonder if he’s having an affair. Of course, his strange behaviour could all be just her imagination, and Rebecca decides to go ahead with their already previously planned overseas holiday.
I always love books set in Australia. Turner’s descriptive passages are beautiful, and the way she paints the Australian flora and fauna with her words is worth the price of this book alone. Once Rebecca and Stephen arrive in Greece, and then travel to Italy, however, was when her writing rose to another level of wonderful for me.
Arriving in Europe also subtly raises the level of tension in the plot. I kept thinking of Hitchcock films whilst reading the passages of Rebecca and Stephen’s sightseeing. There was always that small, seemingly ordinary, moment in these scenes that added another layer to that belief that something sinister was lurking.
When finally that ‘thing’ happens I wasn’t disappointed, and I turned pages like a mad thing to reach the outcome.
I must admit the missing half a star for this book is pretty much due to the ending, as I’m not completely convinced I like it. However, it didn’t take away any of my enjoyment for the book overall. I highly recommend it and will be eager to read Turner’s next novel.
4.5 stars out of 5