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The rising tide
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Library Journal Review
Northumberland detective Vera Stanhope is in a reflective mood in Cleeves's haunting sequel to The Darkest Evening. It begins with a small group of friends who have come to northern England's Holy Island since they were 16. Now, 50 years later, they still return every five years despite the tragic death at their first reunion. Rick, the journalist in their group, announces he's about to write a tell-all novel. When one of the women finds him hanging in his room the day after his revelation, she calls the police. Vera and her small Northumberland team respond. As usual, Vera does things her own way, keeping the group together for a few days so they can be questioned. She latches on to that death 45 years earlier, when a young woman was swept away with the tide. She asks her team to probe into the past, looking for secrets in the lives of an Anglican priest, a deli owner, and two teachers, along with several others who once ran with the group. But before she can identify the killer, Vera's own team is threatened. VERDICT Flawed characters take center stage in an intense novel with a shocking conclusion.--Lesa Holstine
Publishers Weekly Review
In bestseller Cleeves's melancholy 10th Vera Stanhope novel (after 2020's The Darkest Evening), sexagenarians Rick Kelsall, Annie Laidler, and two other old friends reunite at the tidal island convent-turned-guesthouse where they met as teens during a school retreat. When Annie finds Rick's body hanging from a rafter, Det. Insp. Stanhope and her Northumbria Police colleagues cross the island's causeway to investigate. Rick may have lost his BBC hosting gig over sexual misconduct allegations, but he recently signed a lucrative book deal and didn't leave a suicide note. After an autopsy reveals someone smothered Rick before stringing him up, Vera and company uncover myriad viable suspects; not only was Rick's BBC departure more contentious than reported, but he was writing a roman à clef in which he planned to expose his oldest pals' darkest secrets. Cleeves crafts a clever central puzzle, then confers remarkable emotional complexity using her keenly drawn characters' advancing age, wistful nostalgia, and thorny shared history. A pinwheeling third-person narrative drives the pace, while Vera's candor tempers the plot's darker elements. Fair-play mystery fans will delight. Agent: Sarah Menguc, Sarah Menguc Literary (U.K.). (Sept.)
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