Thursday, May 23, 2013
Review of The Woman Who Walked into the Sea by Mark Douglas-Home (Sandstone Press, 2013)
The first Cal McGill book, The Sea Detective, was one of my reads of the year so far. I therefore had high expectations for The Woman Who Walked into the Sea. In many ways it is quite a different kind of book. The pace is much slower, the narrative is dominated by long descriptive passages that, for my tastes, are too much show and not enough tell, and nearly the entire story takes place in and around one village. Whereas the first book had a set of intersecting storylines and a relatively large cast of characters and rivalries, this book is more circumscribed and the focus is for the most part follows Anna, the daughter of the woman who walked into the sea, rather than Cal. In fact, there is very little sea detection in the story. Given the amount of work that Douglas-Home does in providing the back story to the tale and setting up the end play to the book it concludes quite quickly and linearly, reliant on a couple of coincidences and underplays the possibilities for dramatic tension or twists and turns. Personally, I would like the next book in the series to focus more on Cal McGill and his sea detection and to have the same faster-paced storytelling style as the first book. Overall, a solid, okay read, but in my view not in the same class as the excellent first book in the series.