The news doesn’t strike cleanly, like a guillotine’s blade. Nothing so merciful. This news is a slovenly traveller, dragging its feet, gradually revealing its horrors. And it announces itself first with violence – the urgent hammering of fists on the front door.

Life can change in a heartbeat.

Lucy has everything she could wish for: a beautiful home high on the clifftops above the Devon coast, a devoted husband and two beloved children.

Then one morning, time stops. Their family yacht is recovered, abandoned far out at sea. Lucy’s husband is nowhere to be found and as the seconds tick by, she begins to wonder – what if he was the one who took the boat? And if so, where is he now?

As a once-in-a-generation storm frustrates the rescue operation, Lucy pieces together what happened onboard. And then she makes a fresh discovery. One that plunges her into a nightmare more shocking than any she could ever have imagined . . 

My Review

Lucy is beautiful and kind and everyone in the fictional, coastal town of Skentel adores her. Her husband Daniel Locke was brought up in care – he had a tough start along with his friend Nick Povey with whom he is in business – but he now has the perfect marriage and a quirky seven-year-old son called Fin with Lucy. Fin – her ‘little bookworm; her weaver of words; her teller of fine tales’. Lucy also has an environmentally passionate, 18-year-old daughter Billie from a previous relationship. One of many relationships in fact because Lucy has a past, a very dark past.

But together, she and Daniel have built a life in Skentel, renovated a house on the cliffs at Mortis Point, built up Daniel’s Locke-Povey Marine company and run a successful cafe/bar called the Drift Net in the town, where all the locals and tourists meet.

Then one day everything changes. Their yacht the Lazy Susan is found out to sea, there is no-one aboard. It looks like it was abandoned. From hereon things just go from bad to worse. Where is Daniel? As the worst storm in decades is about to take hold of the Devon/Cornwall north coast, how can Lucy battle the elements to find him? I can’t say any more without spoilers. Let’s just say there are more red herrings than you can shake a rod at.

Police Officer Abraham Samson Rose is a strange kettle of fish (apologies for another fishy reference but we are by the sea). The author says he describes himself as ‘…chiselled at speed from the roughest clay to hand.’ When he was a teen my son would have said that he probably ‘fell out of the ugly tree and hit all the branches on the way down’. He’s also a man ‘of faith’. Believing himself to be dying he no longer cares about police procedure – he says he follows a higher power. While reading along with my fellow Pigeons, I think I can safely say that he was most people’s favourite character. Because don’t imagine Daniel and Lucy are Elizabeth Bennett and Mr Darcy. They are both quite horrible at times, to the point where either one could be capable of anything.

I loved The Memory Wood by the same author last year, but this one is my favourite. It never lets up. At the end it’s so fast-paced and exciting you won’t want to stop reading for a second.

Many thanks to The Pigeonhole, the author and my fellow Pigeons for making this such an enjoyable read.

About the Author

Sam Lloyd grew up in Hampshire, where he learned his love of storytelling. These days he lives in Surrey with his wife, three young sons and a dog that likes to howl. His debut thriller, The Memory Wood, was published to huge critical acclaim in 2020.

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