Review: Dark Tides by Chris Ewan (4/5)

Wednesday, 15 October 2014
When Claire Cooper was eight years old her mother mysteriously vanished during Hop-tu-naa, the Manx Halloween. At fourteen, Claire is still struggling to come to terms with her disappearance when she's befriended by a group of five teenagers who mark every Hop-tu-naa by performing dares.

But Claire's arrival begins to alter the group's dynamic until one year a prank goes terribly wrong, changing all their futures and tearing the friends apart.Six years later, one of the friends is killed on Hop-tu-naa in an apparent accident. But Claire, now a police officer, has her doubts. Is a single footprint found near the body a deliberate taunt?

As another Hop-tu-naa dawns, bringing with it another death and another footprint, Claire becomes convinced that somebody is seeking vengeance. But who? And which of the friends might be next? If she's to stop a killer and unlock the dark secrets of her past, Claire must confront her deepest fears, before it's too late.

The author of the bestselling SAFE HOUSE returns to the Isle of Man with a thriller that will keep you up all night.

Having never read anything by Chris Ewan before I was drawn to this book on Netgalley because of it's cover and very exciting sounding premise. From the book's haunting and chilling opening to a fantastic finale it was a gripping read that lived up to the 'keep you up all night' line on the back, stupidly starting this book late one night found me still reading a couple of hours later... always the sign of a good book. 

Given the book is set around Halloween it is perfect for reading at that time. The opening had an almost horror film type feel to it, at times you almost want to look away as you know nothing good is coming yet it's impossible to look away because you just want to read on. Ending on a cliffhanger the Prologue takes us back in time to when Claire, who is somewhat timid and a bit of a loner is invited out by a popular girl called Rachel who introduces her to a group of friends who partake in dares on Hop-tu-naa.

Claire has an element of mystery surrounding her, especially about her past which is explored further as the book flits seamlessly between time periods. Taking us further back in time we learn more about Claire and her family as her mother disappeared during Hop-tu-naa. I found this worked quite well and added to the overall tension of this book, the blurb gives bits away yet the book still has plenty of shocks and twists that will keep your brain ticking leaving you with questions that require immediate answers making this a read in a couple of sittings book. Six years after a terrible incident when one of the dares goes wrong and one of the friends is murdered, the killer leaving just a footprint. Another year brings another death... Who is carrying out the killings and why? Claire, now a police officer is determined to find out. 

I also love that the book was set on the Isle of Man. When you read a book set in a place you have never been and finish it feeling like you have, that speaks volumes at the talent of the author to bring that setting to life and make it feel almost as if you are a part of the story. The whole book has an incredible atmosphere, eery and chilling in places it's definitely one to read at night to add to the overall creepiness of it. 

I loved the premise of the story and am so glad it was executed as well as it was. This is a thriller in every sense of the word. It's both original and exciting which given the crowdedness of the genre and the sometimes repetitive nature of its books is fantastic. For most of is Halloween is a time for sweets, trick or treating or scary movies yet for the characters here the movie becomes real as Claire faces a battle to prevent further deaths, including her own. I have no trouble recommending this book and will be hoping to read the author's previous work whilst keeping an eager eye out for what's to come from him in the future.


Thanks to the publisher for the NetGalley review copy.

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