Wednesday 20 September 2017

Undercurrent - J.A. Baker

Phoebe and her disabled husband, Martyn, move into a new house in a village on the edge of County Durham. They plan to lead a quiet existence, a set up that suits them both.

Then Anna, who lives over the road and is bored of spending her days alone, seeks friendship with Phoebe and events take a dark turn.

Phoebe has secrets and is haunted by her past and Anna’s arrival in her life may prove to be the catalyst for her undoing.

What is Phoebe hiding and why are she and her husband so reclusive?

When Anna gets caught in a storm and is rescued by Phoebe the truth becomes apparent and Anna is thrown into danger.

Is there a difference between madness and evil?

Some friendships can be murder.

What did I think?

Crikey!  What a scorching debut from J.A. Baker.  I saw lots of excitement on social media about Undercurrent on its release, so I didn't think twice about buying a copy for myself, although it is the curse of the blogger that books you buy tend to sit on your TBR pile a lot longer than they should.  So I finally got round to picking up Undercurrent and couldn't put it down!  I positively whizzed through it and loved every minute of it.

The prologue is one of those where you are shown a glimpse of the ending so you race through the rest of the book to find out what events led here.  A woman is found stumbling beaten and bloody through the streets of York with no idea how she got there.  Who is she and what happened to her?  The story then starts with Phoebe and her disabled husband, Martyn, moving into their new home in a small village in County Durham.  Their new home sounds perfect, apart from the public right of way running alongside the river and right through their garden.  With Martyn's volatile moods (due to his medication) and strangers crossing their path, I had the terrible feeling that anything could happen.

With it being a small village, one of the neighbours, Anna, tries to befriend Phoebe but doesn't get the welcome she expected.  Phoebe seems very on edge and unfriendly but what Anna doesn't know is that she bears a striking resemblance to Phoebe's sister, Suzie, who drowned when she was a child.  Despite the shaky start, Anna and Phoebe strike up a tentative friendship but then Anna goes missing...and she's not the first local woman to go missing whilst walking along the banks of the river.  Has the river claimed yet another victim?

For quite a short book at 262 pages, Undercurrent sure packs a big punch with plenty of surprises in store.  It's packed with tension and intrigue from start to finish as the icy tendrils of the river reach out to claim its victims.  Looking back on it now, I really felt as if I could see inside the minds of some of the characters and it was a bit like going down the rabbit hole - we're all mad here!  When madness meets obsession, the result can be deadly.

Don't wait as long as I did to read Undercurrent; if you have it in your TBR, bump it up the queue and if you don't have it in your queue, make sure you buy a copy - you really won't regret it.  I can't wait for J.A. Baker's second novel, Her Dark Retreat, and I know for sure that it won't be hanging around in my TBR too long!

My rating:

Buy it from Amazon

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