Friday 21 August 2015

Book Review: The Blue by Lucy Clarke.

Product details:  
Publisher: HarperCollins.
Paperback, 320 pages.
Release date: July 30th 2015.
Rating:  4 out of 5.
Ages: Adult
Source: Received from publisher for review.

 In the tradition of Alex Garland’s The Beach, a spine-tingling adventure novel about a group of friends whose journey around the world on a yacht turns from a trip to paradise into a chilling nightmare when one of them disappears at sea.

A group of friends.
A yacht.
And a disappearance-at-sea that turns paradise into a chilling nightmare.

Lana and her best friend Kitty leave home looking for freedom—and that’s exactly what they find when they are invited onto The Blue, a fifty-foot yacht making its way from the Philippines to New Zealand. The crew is made up of a group of young travellers bitten by wanderlust, and it doesn’t take long for Lana and Kitty’s dream of sea-bound romance to turn into reality.

Both women fall under the hypnotic spell of The Blue, spending their days exploring remote islands and their rum-filled nights relaxing on deck beneath the stars. But when one of their friends disappears overboard after an argument with another crewmember, the dark secrets that brought each of them aboard start to unravel.

At turns gorgeously scenic and entirely haunting, The Blue is a page-turning thriller about friendship, freedom and wanting to leave the past behind.

 An intriguing and deftly woven tale of secrets, sailing, and maybe even murder…Welcome aboard The Blue.

Twentysomethings Lana Lowe and Kitty Berry, who first bonded as children over the shared loss of their mothers have always been there for each other, so when Lana uncovers a devastating family secret, Kitty is the one she turns to. Confident and carefree, Kitty always has a plan, and soon the two find themselves backpacking in the Philippines. Here, they encounter a bunch of like-minded travellers, all of whom live a bohemian and seemingly idyllic existence on a 50ft yacht called The Blue. After a night fuelled by alcohol and hi-jinks, Lana and Kitty are invited to become the newest crew members of The Blue. They’ll pay their way, and help out as crew in exchange for a carefree life on the high seas. It all seems too good to be true.

And maybe it is. While life on The Blue is at first heaven on earth, Lana is soon to learn that just as on land, things can quickly turn sour at sea. Add a missing person, a forbidden romance, and a best friend with possible ulterior motives into the mix, and what you’ve got is the perfect recipe for a thrilling summer read.

I’ve been a fan of Lucy Clarke’s since her debut Swimming at Night released two years back. Combining stellar, multi-layered mysteries with exotic locales, Clarke’s books always read like a dream thanks to her beautifully-descriptive, always captivating writing. The Blue is no exception to this, and is possibly my favourite book of Clarke’s to date. I loved the twists and turns that this book took, the exploration into the often complex, sometimes underhand motivations of the travellers on The Blue, and the ending – well, let’s just say I didn’t see that coming!

The Blue lulls the reader into a false sense of security; of days spent swimming in crystal clear waters, and nights spent partying and falling in love beneath the stars.  Total dream-existence scenario. But it soon becomes clear that almost everyone on The Blue is running from something; everyone has a secret they really don’t want to share. Far from the band of merry, seemingly carefree travellers that Lana and Kitty first encountered, it becomes increasingly apparent that almost everyone aboard The Blue is a little off-kilter; and with this in mind it’s safe to say that all is not what it seems and a friendly face can turn hostile in the blink of an eye.  The Blue offers an escape from past secrets, enabling these travellers to leave the not-so-pleasant details of their former lives behind.  For some then, The Blue is not just a temporary escape, it’s everything – their whole world. So, when a crew member goes missing after a night of heavy drinking on board the boat, it’s decided not to report the incident lest the inevitable resulting investigation disrupt life on board The Blue. But the details of what happened that night just don’t add up for Lana. When she questions the captain’s authority, she’s shut down. And shut out. It becomes clear to Lana at just about the same time that she really doesn’t know the people she’s travelling with, that some people will do just about anything to stay on board The Blue.

But does that include covering up a possible murder?

A page-turner of multiple secrets and myriad mysteries, The Blue is a must have for your holiday reading list - and another winner from Lucy Clarke.

Read it if you loved: The Beach by Alex Garland, Backpack by Emily Barr, On the Island by Tracey Garvis Graves.

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