Cover Image: In Dark Water

In Dark Water

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Member Reviews

I want to thank NetGalley, the author, Lynne McEwan, and the publisher, Canelo Crime, for allowing me to read and review this book, In Dark Water.

DI Shona Oliver, her husband, Rob, and their daughter, Rebecca, have moved from London to Dumfriesshire, Scotland in order to start over. In addition to her police job, she volunteers for the lifeboat crew on her time off. On one mission they find the body of a young woman, which they take to a nearby town in England who will be assigned the investigation. There, Shonna meets DC Dan Ridley, who promises to keep her informed. This starts a partnership between police forces that do not always get along (the old Scottish/English controversy). When additional bodies are found, which might be linked to a drug ring and baby milk thefts, Shona and her team work with Dan to try and find the murderers. When she finds herself at odds with her supervisor, Shona must try and ‘fly under the radar’ to solve the crimes. 

I enjoyed this police procedural, as the plot was well thought out and made Shona a good policewoman, even while struggling with some major issues in her personal life.
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Overall I found this an enjoyable read, and a very promising start to a new series.

The intriguing thing about this book (and I hope it's to become a series) is the combination of police procedural and the lifeboat angle. 

On the plus side for me: the writing is very good, as are the descriptions of the settings; there's plenty of scope for developing the team dynamics as well as the interesting angle of cross-border investigations for future books.

On the downside for me: there's more attention to the 'politics' of policing than I'd prefer, although it does make for a more authentic read.

I'm looking forward to seeing what's next in this series, and I especially hope to see more of the lifeboat side of things.
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I really enjoyed this ARC detective mystery. I found myself intrigued by Shona and enjoyed the setting of cross border policing. Throwing in a bit of corruption and I was all ready to call AC-12!
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I can only hope this is the start of a long series.
The setting, the crimes, the characters, the plot, all brilliant
A DI who volunteers as an RNLI crew member, a body recovered from the Solway Firth, by her and the crew, and a boss that really doesn’t want her dead body mucking up his crime figures. Well that’s the first two row three chapters.
Those chapters set the pace for a crime story that flies through the pages.
Long enough to be a good story
Short enough to read in a day or two
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In Dark Water is a suspenseful Police procedural set in Dumfries and Galloway close to the English border. Our protagonist is DI Shona Oliver, who doubles up as a lifeboat rescuer, when not policing. I’m surprised this is Lynne McEwan’s first novel, she writes like a seasoned crime writer. The characters are interesting and well drawn, the plot is plausible and the pacing builds from a slow beginning to a thrilling climax. 

The story starts with Shona’s lifeboat crew recovering a body on the shore of the Solway Firth, right on the border with England. The body is identified as a local drug addict, but top brass would rather Shona and her colleagues concentrate on Operation Fortress, a large scale initiative to take down some drug dealers and a spate of baby milk thefts rather than investigate further the possible murder of the girl on the beach. Even when a second suspicious death drops on her patch, a Syrian immigrant, her superiors would like her to focus on other crimes. 

Back on the home front, Shona’s domestic situation is trying, her husband is prone to gambling and drinking and her teenage daughter has problems in school. Both were reasons for moving from London to Southern Scotland, but the past has a way of catching up with you. 

I can see if the series continues it would make a good TV Series, there is plenty of drama, internal police intrigues and the scenic background of Dumfries and Galloway. I found it a little difficult to believe that DI Shona Oliver would have enough time to also work as part time lifeboat volunteer and the only two occasions she was on call in the story added significantly to the development of the plot, which may be a little too coincidental. But overall this was a terrific read, and I look forward to future books by this author. 

My rating 4.5 rounded up to 5.

Thank you Netgalley and Canelo Crime for this ARC in return for an honest review.
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I always enjoy discovering new detective thrillers and there was just something about the blurb of In Dark Water that caught my attention immediately. The promise of a lifeboat angle as well as more than one investigation to follow sounded like an excellent start for this new series, and the Scottish setting was a bonus as well. I've been looking forward to start this debut ever since it started hanging out on my kindle, and I have to say that it turned out to be a solid debut and first book of a detective series.

The first thing that stands out in In Dark Water is the Scottish setting of course. The many descriptions of the setting really made the small Scottish towns come alive and I loved that the author incorporated Scottish phrases into the dialogues. This gave the story a more authentic feel and definitely made my inner philologist happy. It is quite easy to understand the meaning from the context, so I had no problems understanding those parts of the dialogues and it didn't slow me down while reading.

I also really liked the RNLI (Royal National Lifeboat Institution) element in the story. The fact that our new lead character Shona Oliver not only is a detective, but also a RNLI volunteer really gives the story an unique touch. The fact that the lifeboat center and rescues play a significant role in the plot really help making this detective thriller stand out, and I always like an original angle in a story. I also enjoyed learning a bit more about the RNLI too and how they work, and it was great to see how this element was incorporated into the plot.

In Dark Water initially seems to be an investigation into the body of a woman Shona found while answering a RNLI call, but the plot soon becomes a lot more complicated. Shona and her team will have a lot more cases to investigate along the way, and a lot of things are happening in her personal life as well. Personally, I found the plot to be a tad too overburdened by so many different elements and how things ended up evolving was both a bit farfetched and too convenient. I did like the part involving liaison with the Cumbria police and Dan was a great addition as a character, but as a whole I felt like this story wanted to juggle too many different elements while also having a clean ending.

I'm also still not 100% sure what to make of Wee Shona herself. While I still love the fact that she is a RNLI volunteer and I like the way she investigates, there was also something about her that didn't work for me. The whole 'secret' she was hiding was made bigger than it was, and her husband Rob came over as a bit of a cliche. I do see a lot of potential with her team as I mostly liked their dynamics and banter.

As a whole, In Dark Water was a solid start of a new detective series that mixes a RNLI angle with multiple investigations. The Scottish setting is a treat!
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Great first book! Looking forward to seeing how the characters develop in next books.
Fresh and dynamic... Fast-paced and spellbinding...a book you will have a hard time putting down!
Thank you to NetGalley and Canelo Crime for a chance to read this book for my honest opinion.
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A woman's body is recovered by the local lifeboat in the Solway. Cumbria police take charge but DumGal has an interest as one of their officers was on the lifeboat. Love the setting - very true to life in many respects - glorious scenery etc but than I live there so am biassed. DI Oliver gets somewhat emotionally involved with her investigation of the dead girl but she has a lot on her plate - bad history from her days in the Met, struggles with the family B and B, the not quite cured of gambling addiction husband, a teenage daughter not to mention local thefts of baby milk, people trafficking and drug cartels.. No wonder she finds a sort of peace volunteering for the RNLI! There's little let up. She's part of rather a stereotypical team - possibly bent boss,  ambitious young female DC, gay minority DC, loyal old hand supportive DS - but they work and there's plenty of police procedural stuff in there. Good read. Thanks to NetGalley and Canelo for an advance copy in exchange for my honest review.
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DI Shona Oliver is also volunteer lifeboat crew. They rescue the body of a young woman from the Solway Firth, exactly on the border between Scotland and England. She's been in the water for a while. Who is she, and what happened to her?

It won't be the only body which turns up in the Borders. And when their common injuries are uncovered,  it all points to a much wider, more sinister undercurrent....

Really, really good
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Scottish crime fiction usually centres around Edinburgh and Glasgow, although there are now a number of excellent authors who use other parts of this country as a backdrop. However, only an odd one has ventured to the south-west.
As soon as I scanned the blurb for Lynne McEwan’s book, I made it a must read due to it being on my doorstep. This, however, does not make my review in anyway biased!
Being an avid reader, particularly in Scottish Crime fiction, this book, not to mention the author, is up there with the best and in Shona Oliver, we have a character in whom I hope there is considerable mileage.
Ok, not all location are to be found locally, but if you know the area, you know where they are, or at least should be.
Highly recommended and I look forward to the next one.
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After a slow start I got pulled into this first book featuring Detective Shona Oliver, and then it was not to be put down! Shona, her husband and their teenage daughter Becca move from London to Dumfries, Scotland, each are leaving behind troubles, some hidden.
DI during the day and on her off time a RNLI volunteer (Royal National Lifeboat Institution), Shona is part of a body recovery of a young woman, who’s death as a DI she investigates and vows to find the killer(s). Not all goes as planned, a big drug operation, politics, past catching up, … ultimately Shona gets relieved of her duties.
Great first book! Looking forward to seeing how the other characters develop in next books.
Thank you to NetGalley and Canelo Crime for a chance to read this book for my honest opinion.
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Home Turf Beckons...
DI Shona Oliver is back on home turf. The first in a new series of Scottish crime featuring the brusque and efficient Detective. Many threads and well drawn characters make for an interesting and often gripping read with a good sense of place. A promising start to a new series.
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As a Doonhamer it is great to see a book set in my hometown! However it is obvious that the author is not a local; lots of typical Scottish dialect used but few regional phrases, de ye ken whit I mean?
Otherwise well written with interesting characters and a decent plot, I look forward to seeing the next book in the series.
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Thank you Netgalley and Canelo Crime for the eARC.
This is the first in the DI Shona Oliver series; a promising start.
Shona, husband and daughter have moved from London to Dumfries in Scotland, back to Shona's roots.  She's a RNLI volunteer on top of her job as a detective, mother and wife, which at times is overwhelming.  She helps pull a dead girl from the water, right on the border of Scotland and England.  This obvious murder is handled out of England with the help of Shona's team.  The team is also looking into large thefts of baby foods, people trafficking and drug smuggling, keeping them very busy indeed.
I enjoyed this book, and will definitely read the next one.  Shona is a bit brusque, so I'm not quite sure if I like her yet, but hopefully I she will grow on me.  I love the Scottish setting, having spent a lot of time in Glasgow and definitely recommend this book.
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What a ride! Lynne McEwan pulled me into and wouldn’t let me go! Shona’s drive to have a career, a working marriage, and survive motherhood was all too real, as were her struggles to maintain them. Every scene was so vividly described I barely had to use my imagination. Every character had its place within the story, and while I am not usually a fan of books that have a lot of characters, I don’t think this story would have worked without even one of them. 
If you enjoy suspenseful police procedurals, then do yourself a favor and add this to your shelf! Bravo!
-D. M. Grant
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This one wasn't really for me ?! It was kind of all over the place?  It did have suspense, action, drama, the usual but when I was done I was like what did I just read?! I really don't remember anything what I've read?! Lol it was kind of boring I guess? Cuz I really have no idea what I read , nothing stuck ?! Sorry thank you Netgalley and the publisher for sharing this book with me!
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I found it well-written, but a little long. There was a lot going on, as the bodies piled up, apart from the county lines, coordinated raids, etc. Worth a shot.
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I received a copy of this novel from the publisher via NetGalley.

3.5* rounded down. This was a police procedural in which Police Scotland liaised with the Cumbria force, initially over the discovery of a body right on the Scotland/England border. I found it well-written, but a little long. There was a lot going on, as the bodies piled up, quite apart from the county lines co-ordinated raids and the baby milk thefts (yes, really). Since this was a novel, everything turned out to be linked! Then there was Shona's personal life, which was eventful too, and her differences of opinion with her senior officer. It all felt a bit wearing.

The very ending wrapped things up a bit too neatly to be entirely realistic, but presumably the next instalment will show how Shona's family situation works itself out.
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In Dark Water is a very well written suspense novel. 

There are enough twists and turns to keep you interested until the very end. When DI Shona finds a body on the shores of Solway Firth it's evident this was no ordinary drowning. The descriptions were so vivid it made me feel as if I was right there in Scotland. The characters were well-crafted and the ending was a surprise.

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This Scottish crime novel was a great suspense novel! I honestly liked everything about the book! 
Not a bad thing to say! The writing was good! Awesome character development. 
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