I received this novel via the Bookbridgr website, in return for an honest review.
Blood Tide by Claire McGowan
Forensic psychologist Paula Maguire returns in BLOOD TIDE, the fifth novel in Claire McGowan’s acclaimed series. If you enjoyed Sharon Bolton’s LITTLE BLACK LIES or Elly Griffiths’ THE WOMAN IN BLUE, you will love this new novel from the author of THE SILENT DEAD and A SAVAGE HUNGER.

Called in to investigate the disappearance of a young couple during a violent storm, Paula Maguire, forensic psychologist, has mixed feelings about going back to Bone Island. Her last family holiday as a child was spent on its beautiful, remote beaches and returning brings back haunting memories of her long-lost mother.

It soon becomes clear that outsiders aren’t welcome on the island, and with no choice but to investigate the local community, Paula soon suspects foul play, realising that the islanders are hiding secrets from her, and each other.

With another storm fast approaching, Paula is faced with a choice. Leave alive or risk being trapped with a killer on an inescapable island, as the blood tide rushes in…

My review:

Set on the remote Bone Island, this crime fiction novel has an atmospheric location. The author has done a fantastic job, of portraying an island, cut off from the mainland, in the winter months due to the tides/storms. The feeling of isolation grows from the onset. The added scenery of the Lighthouse on the cliff edge, makes you feel as though you walk amongst the island, as the case unfolds.

The prologue opens in 1993 with a scene from Ballyterrin, Northern Ireland. We quickly become aware this is a glimpse into protagonist Paula Maguire’s, mother’s life, before she disappeared for good!
The troubles of Northern Ireland are cleverly intertwined into the backstory of Paula. As a protagonist she is incredibly strong! A forensic psychologist, mother to Maggie and daughter to PJ. The disappearance of her mother, weighs heavily upon her shoulders and we the reader, urge her to solve the case and bring herself some closure.

The police team, arrive on Bone Island to investigate the disappearance of a professional young couple. The couple are GP Dr Fiona Watts and her partner Matthew Andrews. The moved to the island 3/4 months previously when Matt took up a post with Envriacorp. Matt is an ecologist and his work involves research on the activity of the Island’s puffins. Kate worked three mornings a week, as the Island’s only doctor.
There are no real clues to their disappearance. Their home, a lighthouse was found, locked from the inside and the light smashed. The locals believe that they simply must have fallen into the ocean or somehow ended up in the stormy seas, they continue to push that opinion into the investigation. Offering little or no help to the police team.

“Idle hands are the devil’s playground” Irish proverb

Bone Island or Eilean Ban, means white Island. It has a population of just 276 and is just three miles long. The locals appear hostile and defensive. It is only when Paula digs a little deeper, she uncovers some of the Islanders secrets. In the recent months before the couple’s disappearance. There has been a murder and an attempted child killing! But what links these events? Who can Paula trust?

There is a wealth of characters, at times it makes it tricky to keep up with. Especially when it jumps between narratives and era’s. I usually write notes, for my reviews and I found this helped me keep track of the individual characters and where they fit into the story. But they are all extremely well written and each bring a different element to the case or Paula’s back story.

There are themes of whistle-blowing, Northern Ireland’s troubles and secrets from the past. That all add up to make this an intriguing crime thriller.
Perfect for fans of coastal crime fiction or crime fiction located on the bleak Channel Islands.

The sea is full of blood

Claire McGowan
Claire McGowan
Twitter: @inkstainsclaire
Website: https://www.ink-stains.co.uk/

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