30 Books in 30 Days, Vol. 3
This got better as it went. I’m glad, because up until a key reveal over halfway through the book, I was pretty emotionally uninvested in what was going on. There so many point of view characters! Too many, I think. Made it a lot harder to get invested. Also, I much prefer mysteries where the people solving the crimes discover things, instead of us as readers discovering them via flashback, which is mostly what happens here.
Set on a lake on the border of England and Wales, a traditional New Year’s swim in the frigid water is interrupted with the discovery of a dead body. The man, Rhys Lloyd, was hated by nearly everyone in town, and not just because he built a fancy resort for English people on the other side of the river, an act the people of Cwm Coed see as betrayal. Our two main characters are Ffion Morgan and Leo Brady, both detectives, one from Wales and one from England. Because it’s unclear where the murder took place, they work together to solve the crime unearthing a bunch of dirt in the process.
With the exception of Leo and Ffion, I didn’t care about any of the characters, not even to hate them, so there was clearly a problem here for me about emotional engagement. And as mentioned above, it took me until halfway to invest in Ffion and then the book as a whole (Leo was a bit earlier). The mystery was twisty but getting there wasn’t as much fun as it could have been. I will read the next book but I will be librarying it instead of buying.
[3.5 stars, rounded up for the second half]