Thursday 25 June 2020

Death of a Mermaid - Lesley Thomson

When Freddy Power was eighteen, her father threw her out. Her sin had been to fall in love with a woman. Freddy waited for two decades to be invited back into the family. The summons never came.

But now, in the wake of her parents' death, Freddy feels the call of home like a siren's song. The ferry from France emerging out of the mist. Fisherman unloading trawlers down at the harbour. Her childhood friends, Mags and Toni, walking on the cliffs at sunset.

Yet when she arrives in Newhaven, she finds that time has not stood still. After twenty-two years of silence, her brothers exclude her, and Mags and Toni feel like strangers. But then Mags goes missing, and old secrets – and old passions – are reignited. Freddy is determined to lead the hunt for the woman who was her first love. Even if it means confronting the past, and facing up to the truth about her family.

What did I think?

Death of a Mermaid is my first Lesley Thomson book and what a cracker it is!  Death comes to Newhaven, a channel ferry port in East Sussex, so put on your Sou'wester and travel to this south coast fishing town with Lesley Thomson.

A bone chilling prologue sets the scene for a very dark and menacing story that gripped me by the throat and refused to let go until I had turned the final page.  I almost forgot to breathe towards the end as I let out a shaky breath I didn't realise I had been holding.  That is how gripped by the story I was.  Lesley Thomson drew me in with her mesmerising words and captured me in her net, resigned to my fate of not being able to put the book down until this outstanding story had concluded.

Freddy Power as a schoolgirl was a member of a group called the Mermaids; a trio of friends who were obsessed with the film The Little Mermaid.  The group broke up suddenly when Freddy unexpectedly left home and lost contact with her friends and family.  When Freddy returns for a family funeral, it's not exactly a joyous reunion with fellow Mermaids, Mags and Toni, and even Freddy's brothers don't want her there.  When Mags goes missing, after a suspicious double death in the town, Freddy decides to stay in Newhaven rather than return to her controlling partner in Liverpool.  Freddy is determined to prise all of the secrets from the town's icy grip and she must confront her past before she can finally be free.

What a book!  The storyline is absolutely superb; it's tense, menacing and completely gripping.  I loved The Little Mermaid thread running through it, from ornaments in a fish tank to the disc in the dvd player; it oozed a sense of nostalgia that kept me anchored when my brain wanted to sail away on the story.  I love books filled with secrets and Death of a Mermaid has enough secrets to blow your socks off.

Death of a Mermaid is atmospheric, compelling and moving and I can't recommend it highly enough. 

I chose to read an ARC and this is my honest and unbiased opinion.

My rating:

Buy it from Amazon

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