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Two crime books about the sea

Two books set on or around the sea today. I didn't plan to read two sea themed books in a row, it just happened... as it does sometimes. 'Serendipity' I think they call it... given my love of the sea and books about it. Anyhow, with out further ado - and rabbiting on - the first book is Dead in the Water by Dana Stabenow, book three in her Kate Shugak series.

Kate is crewing on an Alaskan crabber, the Avilda, having been placed there by Jack Morgan, her investigative boss and also her lover. Two men went missing off the trawler when they left it to go ashore on an island in the Bering Sea. The Aleutian chain is remote with some of the wildest and most unpredictable weather on the planet. Not somewhere to get stranded and the men were given up for lost, rather too easily in Jack's opinion, by the captain of the Avilda. The families of the missing men naturally want to know what happened and Kate is there, undercover, to find an answer to that question. Kate realises only too well that her life is very much in jeopardy here and not only because the work is exhausting and extremely dangerous. There are other forces at work and she must use every bit of her ingenuity to solve this mystery and to stay alive.

Wow, talk about a sense of place. I've read about The Aleutian Islands before but never quite in this manner. During the first chapter the reader is utterly transported to a trawler, in the middle of a storm, off that chain of islands, and it's rivetting. This is why I love to read crime books that are set around the world... for me it's another method of armchair travelling, every bit as effective as reading non-fiction travel writing. Fantastic. I learnt about fishing in the Bering Sea and how merciless it can be for the men who do it. I learnt some of the history of the Native American Aleuts - how they were moved off various islands during the war and so on. (I would be interested in finding out more about that.) And all the while enjoying an excellent murder mystery story. That aspect kept me guessing all the way through and the danger Kate was in throughout the book was real edge of the seat stuff. What more could you possibly want from a murder mystery? Brilliant. So glad I went back to this series.

Next up is The Woman who Walked into the Sea by Mark Douglas-Home, book two in his 'Sea Detective' series.

Single mother, Violet Wells, was adopted as a baby and has no idea who her parents were. A solicitor from Inverness brings her an anonymous note he's received, telling her that she had been left, as a newborn baby, at a hospital in Inverness and that her mother's name was Megan Bates. And thus begins a long journey of discovery for Violet. She travels to the town of Poltown near Ullapool on the western coast of Scotland. She soon discovers that her father was William Ritchie, married owner of the local 'big house', with whom her mother had had an affair. She also comes into contact with the elderly Mrs. Anderson who had been the Ritchie's's housekeeper for many years. What does she know? The other person she comes across is Cal McGill, an oceanographer, now known as the Sea Detective after being connected with various criminal investigations connected to the sea. Violet has been led to believe that her mother committed suicide by walking into the sea after the father of her baby had abandoned her. But is that the truth? Many people know more than they will admit to and discovering 'the truth' turns out to be more dangerous than either Violet or Cal had anticipated.

Goodness, what a brilliant series this is. (I say 'series', so far there are only two books and I can't discover whether book three is actually out yet... possibly this May?) I thought the first book, The Sea Detective was really excellent but, if anything, I think this one was even better. Book one had a lot of threads going on and you had to keep your wits about you to keep up. Not so this one, which was all about Violet Wells and her search for the truth about what happened to her mother. The story is full of family secrets and loaded with some very odd characters indeed. People are not what they seem and it's intriguing and compulsive reading. Add to that the setting of the coastline of Wester Ross and you have the perfect book for me. We saw a bit of that area in 2014 and I fell head over heals for the sheer beauty and grandeur of the area. It's a character in the book as much as any of the people and is portrayed so well, no reader could fail to be transported to the west coast of Scotland while reading it. I literally cannot wait for the third book to come out. I love, love, love this series... what a terrific writer Mark Douglas-Home is and I'm so happy to have discovered his writing.

And just to finish, a couple of photos I took in 2014 of the area around Ullapool from this post.



Those sound like very intriguing books. With your love of travel, no wonder you were attracted to both of them. They sound good to me, too!
Yeah, being what they are... books set in Alaska and Scotland... they couldn't really fail with me. *g*
I remember liking Dead in the Water, but I don't remember a thing it was about! Oh, I just checked - it's one of the Dana Stabenow's on my shelf! In fact I seem to have the first seven of the series still, if you need to borrow any!

I like the sound of the Mark Douglas-Home books alot too, shall have to look them up. Gorgeous pictures too, especially all those shining greys and silvers...
I may take you up on the offer of the Dana Stabenows. I have a couple on my Nook but Daughter Number one says the formatting is not great, which can be a real annoyance to me. I don't really want to pay megabucks reserving them all from the library... Tivvy library has some but not all of course *g* and not the ones I need next... so I'll see how it goes.

The MD-H books are excellent. It's always a pleasure to find a new series that you can't find fault with.

Glad you like the pics. Scotland's an easy subject to take good photos of. *g*
Well I shall put them in my Caffy-bag anyway, and you can decide next time we coffee-and-chat!