For this week’s mini-confessions I have two dark and twisty tales. Both of these were good stories but neither held enough of a surprise for me. One is a little bit of a ghost story and the other is a straight up murder mystery.

The Deep by Alma Katsu

Publication Date: March 10, 2020

“The living are often anchors for the dead. The old newspaperman Stead’s words come back to him, how the dead want to lay down their troubles and escape to the next world, but it’s the living, unable to let go, who keep them here. Love and desperation like heavy chains lash them to the earth.”
― Alma Katsu, The Deep

This was an interesting twist on the sinking of not only the Titanic but also her sister ship the Britannic which sank during WWI. But this was no ordinary retelling of these disasters as there is a paranormal storyline woven into the tragedies. There are a lot of characters to keep track of which sometimes detracted from the story, and there were times when things seemed to get a bit confusing, but overall I really enjoyed the story.

Annie tells most of the story and while I liked her, I never thought she was a reliable narrator. There was always something slightly off about her. She was a stewardess on the Titanic, and later a nurse on the Britannic. She became overly involved/obsessed with a young couple, Caroline and Mark and their baby. This obsession is the main focus of the story. It also sets up for what happens on the Britannic.

I really liked the paranormal undertones of the whole story. There is a seance and lots of characters on the Titanic comment about feeling uneasy and seeing things that are not there. But the real paranormal story doesn’t happen until the very end of the story and then it felt a bit rushed. There are hints as to what is really going on, but the truth doesn’t come out until the end. The end was also a bit abrupt and didn’t quite make sense.

Overall though, this was an interesting retelling of these two tragedies. I did listen to the audiobook, which I would recommend. The narrator, Jane Collingwood, does a good job.

Into the Water by Paula Hawkins

Publication Date: May 2, 2017

“Some say the women left something of themselves in the water; some say it retains some of their power, for ever since then it has drawn to its shores the unlucky, the desperate, the unhappy, the lost. They come here to swim with their sisters.”
― Paula Hawkins, Into the Water

While I did enjoy this dark and twisty tale, I was also a bit disappointed in it. Almost all of the reviews I read talked about this unexpected really big twist at the end. I kept thinking that I must have it wrong, as I had pretty much figured it all out about half way through the book, and I kept thinking so where is the big surprise? But no, what I had figured out was the way it went down. So needless to say, I was a bit disappointed. But I did still really enjoy the book.

There are so many characters telling the story that it was a bit hard to keep track of them all at the start. But once you get to know them, it gets easier. None of the characters were very likable, although many of them I could feel sympathy for. I don’t think any of them were very happy and some of them had trauma in their childhoods that shaped them as adults.

This is a plot driven story, more than the characters. There is a lot going on, and most of it is centered around women being murdered or committing suicide in the local river. Katie’s story was sad and a little bit strange. I would have maybe liked to know a bit more about her story, because it didn’t exactly add up to me. But her story is the catalyst for some of the other things that went on in the book, so that was ok.

This was the author’s second book, and while it wasn’t as strong as her first, The Girl on the Train, it is still a really good story. It is dark and creepy and even though I figured out everything before the end, there were still a few little surprises that kept me interested.

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