Wednesday, July 20, 2022

Book Review: "Beneath Cruel Waters" by Jon Bassoff

Lies and denial can ripple for years to come.

Several friends raved about this book so I had to pick it up. It’s definitely bleak and poignant, but it’s tremendously gripping and well-told.

It’s been many years since firefighter Holt Davidson has returned to his Colorado hometown. But when he learns that his estranged mother committed suicide, he feels compelled to return for her funeral and perhaps come to terms with their strained relationship once and for all.

Being in his childhood home doesn’t really evoke feelings of nostalgia, though. Holt searches through his mother’s belongings to try to find some clues to why she might have taken her own life, not to mention why she treated him in such a cold way. But instead of answers, he finds a gun, a love letter, and a Polaroid picture of a dead man.

Who was this man? Could his mother have killed him? If so, why? Holt is desperate to figure out the truth, even if it means uncovering long-hidden secrets and traumas that affected not only him but his older sister Ophelia and those who kept the secrets all these years.

The story shifts back and forth between the present and 1984. While not all of the twists were surprising, I was drawn into the dark stories of this book. It’s sad and perhaps a bit triggering for some, but it will definitely stay in my mind.

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