Review: Dead in the Water by Simon McCleave


Print Length: 343 pages
Publisher: Avon (June 20, 2024)

From  When a seventeen-year-old girl vanishes from her home overnight, DI Laura Hart knows that time is of the essence.

Then, an inmate at the local prison is murdered in her cell and suddenly Beaumaris CID is juggling two major investigations.

With inmates refusing to talk to the police, Laura is forced to take drastic going undercover behind bars.

With everyone under suspicion, Laura’s true identity must be kept a secret, meaning no one can protect her.

Locked in with a killer, it’s a race against time – can Laura find a lead… before she’s found out?

My Rating: 2 stars out of 5

Right off the bat, let me say I am very confused as to why this novel is listed as DI Ruth Hunter #5 when this book has absolutely nothing to do with Ruth. But once I got over that initial confusion.... I was still left confused. 

See the problem with this one is that when it begins, there are two main plot-lines running side by side. The murder of a female prisoner as well as the possible abduction of a teenage girl.  And every chapter is told from the point of view of one of the two characters that is heading up that particular investigation along with the numerous people that they encounter during their separate investigations. Of course, no one at the prison are willing to talk, which means we now get a third point of view included into the mix, that of DI Laura Hart who has agreed to go undercover as a prisoner in order to try and get to the bottom of what really happened. And while each chapter does tell you the location of where events will be taking place so you are able to keep track of which line of inquiry you are on, the characters are so numerous and one-dimensional that it all starts to blend together. 

I was a little confused on just how quickly the other inmates figured out there was an undercover cop in their midst considering no one at the prison knew it, and very little people on the force knew about it. It seemed just a little too convenient for me to believe, as it would have made more sense if the governor (also known as a warden here in America) had let it slip since she claimed to recognize her. 

As the story moves on, the reader does eventually find out that the story-lines are connected and there are numerous red-herrings in place to keep the reader distracted and guessing. Despite that, I found it easy to put this book down to go and do other things, sometimes not coming back to it until a day or two later. And once things were wrapped up, I was still left with questions and things still felt unresolved (the supposed drug trade happening inside of the prison for one thing). 

All things considered, I may give this author another chance down the road, but I most likely won't be continuing on with this particular series. 

DISCLAIMER: I received a complimentary copy of this novel from the publisher. This has not affected my review in any way. All thoughts and opinions expressed in this review are 100% my own.

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