Today I am sharing my thoughts on the brand new thriller from Rod Reynolds, Black Reed Bay. With a real American Noir feel to it, this is a book which is crying out to be the start of a series. My thanks to Anne Cater of Random Things Tours for the invite to join the tour. Here’s what the book is all about:
About the Book
Don’t trust ANYONE…
When a young woman makes a distressing middle-of-the-night call to 911, apparently running for her life in a quiet, exclusive beachside neighbourhood, miles from her home, everything suggests a domestic incident.
Except no one has seen her since, and something doesn’t sit right with the officers at Hampstead County PD. With multiple suspects and witnesses throwing up startling inconsistencies, and interference from the top threatening the integrity of the investigation, lead detective Casey Wray is thrust into an increasingly puzzling case that looks like it’s going to have only one ending…
And then the first body appears…
For fans of Susie Steiner, Sarah Hilary, M J Arlidge, James Lee Burke and Tana French
I’ve been thinking for a while about this review. About what I want to say. I stand by my opening statement that this feels like it should be part of a series as there is something there in the lead character, Detective Casey Wray, that suggests there are far more stories in her and a lot more that can be achieved with her as a principal voice in a story. But this book on it’s own is a big of an enigma. Not in a bad way at all. But this is a big story but told in an almost understated way that almost belies the tragedy, darkness and corruption at its heart.
What I loved about this story is that way in which Rod Reynolds has captured that authentic American noir styling and voice. From the way in which he has recreated the Long Island community, to the stark differences between the characters in the novel and those, such a the family of the potential victim, who have nothing, it all feels real and almost amplified in a way which feels inherently and almost stereotypically American. Everything over there is just bigger, from the attitudes, to the personalities and even to the scandals. And there is definitely scandal at the centre of this story, one which leads to tragedy, tension and a whole host of secrets being unveiled in quite dramatic fashion.
I liked the character of Casey Wray. There is a sense that she doesn’t quite fit in with her peers, and that there is an underlying conflict which we don’t quite know the full ins and outs of yet. She is definitely astute and with a natural affinity towards the case, and there was something about her as a person that I instinctively warmed to. She is loyal to her boss and to her partner, and with a clearly defined sense of right and wrong that will be greatly challenged by the case she has to investigate. But as much as she is focused n her job, there is a part of her which shows a great affinity to the victim’s family too which only adds to the respect I had towards her.
The case is complex, far beyond a panicked phone call and a missing person case, and the people we meet all come across with varying levels of unreliability. You can feel the tension building from the start, the reticence and avoidance of the key witnesses, or indeed suspects, in the case just adding to the atmosphere. Everything is perfectly aligned to promote that sense of danger, of secrets being concealed, and of a much darker side to the exclusive neighbourhood than they would have you believe. Rod Reynolds takes readers down a very murky and twisting road, and it is not just the risk of getting lost in the eponymous black reeds of the bay that Casey needs to worry about. The story is very credible, an almost ripped from the headlines believability about it, that kept me invested in the story right to the end. There are things which happen that aim to throw Casey, and readers, off the scent, but ultimately all just add to the every growing intrigue as we try to understand just how far the threat that we can feel extends.
The way the story draws to a conclusion – well let’s just say it was largely unexpected, but it certainly makes for an interesting opportunity to develop Casey’s character further. With a slow building tension, an understated element of threat and an overwhelming sense of mystery, fans of the author really will enjoy this book.
About the Author
Rod Reynolds is the author of four novels, including the Charlie Yates series. His 2015 debut, The Dark Inside, was longlisted for the CWA New
Blood Dagger, and was followed by Black Night Falling (2016) and Cold Desert Sky (2018); the Guardian have called the books ‘Pitch-perfect American noir.’ A lifelong Londoner, in 2020 Orenda Books will publish his first novel set in his hometown, Blood Red City. Rod previously worked in advertising as a media buyer, and holds an MA in novel writing from City University London. Rod lives with his wife and family and spends most of his time trying to keep up with his two young daughters.
Follow the tour:
Books by Rod Reynolds