Few things are stronger than the bond between siblings. Little does Preston know just how far his love for his sister is about to take him, though.
The author’s vivid descriptions of the setting made me feel as if I were wandering around Sandy Creek alongside Preston and his companions as they attempt to figure out what really happened to his sister. Every sense other than taste is invoked as what should be a peaceful body of water gradually reveals its dark underbelly. My favourite scenes involve the protagonist’s exploration of this area due to how easy it is to mentally picture exactly what he is experiencing.
I got to know Preston very well during the course of his tale, but it was harder to figure out the personalities of the people around him. Each one is given a brief introduction, but had their names not been included in later scenes it would have been difficult for me to know who was speaking based on what they said or how they react to everything that happens to them. Preston has a well-defined personality that affects every decision he makes. The secondary characters do not seem to share this same advantage.
As soon as the mystery presents itself in the first chapter I couldn’t wait to find out what happens next. The author’s use of a well-paced plot as well as her decision to begin a little later in the timeline than I was expecting kept me on my toes.While the cast of characters is about the size I would expect for a novel this length, I was also surprised by how quickly many of them are introduced in the first few chapters.
There is also a lot of telling instead of showing in this book. Preston’s reaction to his sister’s disappearance felt genuine to this reader, but many other emotions, character traits, and clues about what is really happening are released in a sentence or two instead of being allowed to gradually seep through body language or dialogue.
The ending redeemed many of my concerns about earlier chapters. It wasn’t something I saw coming until right before it happens and I was impressed that the author was able to keep me guessing for well over 200 pages. If this is any indication of Ms. Ward’s writing ability, I look forward to seeing what she comes up with next!
Sandy Creek is a solid mystery that I would recommend to anyone in the mood for a challenge.
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