Dead in the Water by B Baskerville

Smooth seas never made a skilled killer.

When Esther’s father asks her to move his boat from the Greek Isles to Sicily, she knows her old university friends will jump at the chance to help her. A sailing team reunited, a luxury yacht, clear skies, and hot sun— it should be heaven.

But as a once in a decade storm approaches, buried grudges return to the surface and secrets can’t stay private any longer.

The nation’s sweetheart, the model, the vet, the hippy, the watcher, and the flirt— one of them isn’t getting off this yacht alive.

Publication Date: 12th March 2021

I love a good claustrophobic mystery. A group of university friends who were members of the same sail racing crew back in the day meet up again for a leisurely cruise along the Mediterranean, they’re different to the way they were back in their uni days and some old grudges are brought back to the surface.

The story switches through the POV of each of the women on the boat, so we get a piece by piece view of what they all think of each other and what their relationships are like – giving us a total of 6 unreliable narrators. This kept me hooked, it feels like you’re catching up on the juicy gossip of their lives as you see them sail closer to disaster.

Another aspect that I loved is that while these women each had personal problems going on, they were all in their element and masterfully manning the boat at the same time. Their ability to multitask and the author showing this was really satisfying, their ability to survive in the face of everything else falling apart is empowering (apart from the one murder victim, of course. Her ability to survive wasn’t as impressive).

The women are all very different in personality, which made some infinitely more likable than others. My favourite was Jo, a hardworking vet from a working class background – I wish there’d been more depth of backstory for her, it felt like she had more to say.

The only thing I didn’t love about this book was the characters breaking the fourth wall (is that a thing in books?) and directly addressing the reader. This would have been ok if only one character did it but it happened a few times and threw off my stride.

I recommend this for fans of crime fiction, especially with some sensationalism thrown in. If any of us were likely to be going anywhere this year, I’d call it the perfect beach read!

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