“A place like Cwm Coed needs four generations in the graveyard before you can call yourself local.”
On New Year’s Eve, Rhys Lloyd has a house full of guests. His lakeside holiday homes are a success, and he’s generously invited the village to drink champagne with their wealthy new neighbours. This will be the party to end all parties. But not everyone is there to celebrate. By midnight, Rhys will be floating dead in the freezing waters of the lake.
On New Year’s Day, DC Ffion Morgan has a village full of suspects. The tiny community is her home, so the suspects are her neighbours, friends and family – and Ffion has her own secrets to protect. With a lie uncovered at every turn, soon the question isn’t who wanted Rhys dead . . . but who finally killed him.
In a village with these many secrets, a murder is just the beginning.
This was one novel I was most eager to read ever since the author announced it last year on her book club on Facebook. The last few months had been insanely busy with classes and a second bout of Covid-19 which completely messed up my reading schedule and forced me to push back reading this ARC. Nonetheless, the wait was worth it because the book delivers more than your expectation.
Clare Mackintosh’s newest psychological thriller is the first in a brand new crime series set in North Wales, lead by Detective Constable Ffion Morgan.
Five families reside in the luxury cabins of the Shore built by Rhys Lloyd. The rich residents look down upon the locals of Cwm Coed – a village on the border of Wales and England – separated by a lake. The locals, on the other hand, are not happy with these outsiders who have taken over. It is a battle of belonging and each wants to get rid of the other.
The book opens with a murder on New Years’ Day and the characters are introduced as DC Ffion and Leo, her partner from the English side, proceed with the investigation. Meanwhile, the events leading up to the murder are built up in the past from the point of view of the locals and the Shore Residents.
Even with multiple POVs, Mackintosh doesn’t loosen her grip on the pace. The story is plotted so flawlessly that you quickly familiarise yourself with all the different characters as you weave your way through their understanding of how things happened.
One of the reasons I love Clare Mackintosh’s books is because she leads you down multiple paths. Rhys made a lot of enemies, giving every suspect a rock solid motive. So, you’re constantly debating with yourself on finding the killer’s identity.
She refuses to reveal the suspense until the last moment and even then, she might smack you with a twist so hard it will turn your interpretation of the book on its axis.
The book is set in Wales, which also the author’s home, and she brings in the local flavour into her writing, not to mention swimming in the freezing waters as she is often known to do herself. She writes with her trademark dry humour shared among the detectives as well as the weighted emotions of those in pain. And yet you notice she is constantly reinventing her writing and raising the bar for how thrillers are written.
Another Mackintosh classic with a relentlessly gripping mystery that leaves you gasping for breath. I can’t wait to read what Ffion Morgan does next.
Book 30 of 2022.
Aquamarine Flavours Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟.
Available on Amazon*.
This origami dragon, crafted from 80gsm paper, is as close as I could get to the Welsh y Ddraig Goch (the red dragon).
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