Cover Image: In the Deep

In the Deep

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

“I hope you don’t find him. And if you do I hope he’s dead and that he suffered.” 👈 😱 I had to start with this line from In the Deep because it stuck with me and also, it’s being said by Ellie about her missing husband Martin. Ellie has a horrific and tragic past, her toddler drowned and her marriage unraveled and then she had a complete breakdown afterwards and basically lost everything. Now she meets Martin and she’s feeling hopeful for the first time in years. She’s leaving Canada for Australia with her dashing new husband and they’re set to build a resort. But as soon as they arrive in Australia things take a dark and sinister turn.⁣
Y’all, this one was SO good! You have multiple perspectives, Ellie in the past and during the murder trial and Lozza, a police officer working the case. The majority of the book takes place in Australia and it was highly atmospheric and very well drawn. It was a complex and tangled mystery with so many aspects I never saw coming. It’s one of those books that in hindsight, things seem obvious, but when you’re reading it, you’re just guessing again and again. This one was super dark and full of triggers, pretty much anything you can imagine, but I really liked it, it was such a smart thriller.
Was this review helpful?
It took me around 5 days to finish this book. Too many words lol but I don't regret finishing this story. You thought you know what is happening but damn you are wrong.  There are multiple twists at the end and you won't see it coming at all lol 

The main character, Ellie is such an unreliable character. I don't know whether I can trust her or not. Like she don't even know what is happening to her. Ohhh she is a drug addict and she is a mess!!

Thank you Netgalley, publisher and author for In The Deep ARC!
Was this review helpful?
4.5 you'll love it - and loathe it - stars

In the Deep is super difficult to review!  I liked it; I loathed it.  I felt awful reading it; I couldn't put it down!  I felt sorry for the characters; I couldn't stand the characters!

If Ms. White was trying to challenge her readers thoughts and emotions and keep us on our toes...she succeeded!  I started the book knowing nothing about the plot or characters and right away I couldn't put it down.  I sensed their was going to be a big twist but there is really no way for readers to be prepared for it.  I was completely surprised by the ending, although I sensed there was something off about our villain - or villains? - from the start.

In the Deep drops readers straight into the deep end.  A murder suspect arrives at court to be tried for the murder of her husband.  Readers aren't sure if she's guilty or innocent, but the narrator (our suspect) is alternately horrified by the screams and epithets hurled at her from the press and bystanders, and laser focused on presenting the best version of herself to win her freedom.

The novel then jumps back a year to the PoV of Senior Constable Lauren - Lozza - Bianchi.  Bianchi, along with her partner Greg, accompany a local who claims to have found a body in a swampy channel off the Agnes River.  Lozza suspects it might be Martin Cresswell-Smith, a real estate developer who went missing four days earlier, but since he's nowhere near where detectives believe he went missing, she has her doubts.  When they finally locate the body, Lozza is certain IT IS Martin - and that someone tortured and killed him.  But why?  And how did he end up here?

Ellie Hartley is a hot mess.  Two years earlier, after the accidental drowning death of her three-year-old daughter, Ellie's "perfect" life fell apart.  Drinking and pills helped numb her pain, but after a divorce and total emotional breakdown, she ended up institutionalized.  In The Deep begins with Ellie determined to move forward with her life and put the grief and rage and devastation firmly in her past.  She's ready to start a new chapter - one filled with purpose (professionally and personally) and happiness.  But her fresh start gets off to a rough start when she arrives at what she thought was a private dinner to celebrate her father's birthday, and instead discovers herself at a conference for entrepreneurs looking for investment money.  Her father, a wealthy businessman, is looking for businesses to invest in, and he's accompanied by yet another young girlfriend.  Furious, disappointed and sad, Ellie promptly gets drunk.  The dinner ends after a loud and acrimonious exchange with her father, but Ellie remains at the Hartley Hotel bar (the hotel is owned by her father) to meet up with a friend.  The two continue to drink until finally they part late that night.

Ellie is contemplating a return home when she bumps into a handsome stranger on her way out.  He introduces himself as Martin Cresswell-Smith, a real estate developer looking for investors in his latest project - a luxury housing community in New South Wales, Australia.  Ellie feels a flare of attraction after her charming stranger urges her to join him for another drink, and likes him even more after they sit down for drinks.  The "relationship" develops quickly, and before long Ellie is joining Martin on business trips and romantic getaways.  On a trip to Las Vegas only a few short, intense months later, she impulsively suggests they get married - and Martin agrees.  She also offers to invest in his New South Wales project after an important investor drops out, and Martin - reluctantly - agrees to that, too.  The pair make plans for Ellie to join Martin in Australia, and after a stressful trip from Vancouver, Ellie exits the airplane to find a smiling Martin waiting to welcome her.  The doubts and stress of her past seem far away...until Martin shares his plans for the day with his jet lagged and weary wife.  

Oh friends.  There's nothing dreamlike about Ellie's new life.  It's a nightmare that unfolds almost from the moment she steps off the plane.  But you expected that didn't you?  I'm not going to give away any of the secrets of this novel except to confirm you are right to be worried about our poor Ellie.  But is she 'poor Ellie' or 'murderous Ellie?'  Ah, now that's the question. (I won't be answering). Ms. White masterfully introduces each other characters that have a part to play in this story - Ellie, Martin, Lozza and several other important secondary characters, but readers are never quite sure about Ellie.  We spend time in her unreliable PoV, along with Lozza - who's own traumatic past exerts a significant pull on her thoughts and actions, and with the Watcher - an unnamed person who seems to be stalking Ellie.  It's a creepy, clever waiting game as we wait for Martin to meet his end.  

In the Deep is entertaining and addictive.  Like a train wreck, you can't look away!  I kept wondering just how Ellie's arrival in Australia was tied to the court case and murder at the start of the book, and Ms. White draws out that mystery until the near end of the book.  I liked how it all came together, but the book is nearly finished when she dangles one last possible twist.  I wasn't ready for it - and I found myself wishing we had one more chapter to explore this tantalizing reality.

Fans of twisty, character driven mystery/thrillers will love this one.  I didn't love the characters - any of them! - but  the story is a winner.  

Was this review helpful?
I FLEW through In The Deep! This is a super twisty murder mystery that had me quickly turning pages. I couldn’t put it down!

After a whirlwind romance, Martin and Ellie seem to have it all. Until Martin is brutally murdered and secrets start to reveal...

This was so manipulative, and twisted, and fabulous! Every twist was perfectly timed and executed. Just when you think it’s over, the author throws another curveball your way. The suspense ramps up throughout the book and leaves the reader with no option but to keep turning the pages. A compulsive, twisted story! My thanks to the publisher for the advance reader in exchange for my honest review.
Was this review helpful?
Loreth Anne White's "Angie Pallorino" series is one of my all-time favourite series and her stand alone novels are just as good.
This is the story of Ellie who is in the depths of despair after suffering the devastating loss of her child, quickly followed by divorce. Once meeting Martin she feels she may be able to find happiness again. Ellie moves to Australia with Martin where she begins to see his dark side. Suddenly he disappears and nothing is as it seems.
A unique storyline, complex and captivating characters, dangerous and intense situations, and intriguing twists and turns result in "In The Deep" being a fantastic novel in this genre.

Thank you to NetGalley and Montlake Romance for a copy of this novel in exchange for my honest review.
Was this review helpful?
Loved it!!!! There are so many twists and turns. The ending was everything. Loved the story, characters and writing style. The characters were perfect, none of them were very likable but they made the book work. Lozza Bianchi was the only redeemable character. She actually could see what was really happening and what people were trying to hide. She definitely will be watching. Ellie must be blind because she had huge red flags blinking and waving in front of her but she saw NOTHING. She ignored everything, even when she saw it with her very own eyes. Everything was too good to be true. There's so many surprises throughout the book and I never saw them coming. The best thing I could say is read the book, you will not be disappointed.

Definitely recommend the book. It was a great mystery/thriller and will keep you guessing until the very end. Look forward to reading more books by the author. 

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Montlake Romance through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
Was this review helpful?
Right off the bat it's revealed that Ellie's husband has been murdered, the trial is ready to begin. Interspersed with the trial chapters are Ellie's story, starting when she first met Martin, and Lozza's investigation into the murder. Ellie is a total mess, pills/booze steer her life, and she's still deep in grief. Her whirlwind romance with Martin sends up so many red flags I was saying "girl, RUN!" throughout. Martin is a master at gaslighting.

I had my suspicions about the villain, but I did not guess the extent of it: WAIT..........oooooooooh. That twist really threw me! The whole book gave me a sense of impending doom, and the final chapter gave me chills.
Was this review helpful?
If you are looking for a tense, edge-of-your-seat, thriller with an unreliable narrator, this book is perfect.  White is a master of tangled suspense that keeps you guessing to the end.
Was this review helpful?
Gripping and shocking, this one will keep you glued to the pages! A bit gothic, definitely atmospheric, I could clearly picture what I was reading. The characters are intense, complex, and wholly unlikable and that's part of the draw. Completely convincing, its almost impossible to decide who is telling the truth. I was absorbed in the plot and invested in the outcome. One of the best psychological thrillers I've read this year.
Was this review helpful?
Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

Sarah – ☆☆☆☆☆
This is a creepy and disturbing psychological thriller. Told in multiple voices, across two continents and at three points in time, readers must piece together the events leading up to the grisly murder of a wealthy international businessman. It’s a complicated, contradictory puzzle and I couldn’t put it down.

At the heart of the story is Ellie, a Canadian heiress with a troubled history who marries the victim and moves to Australia to be with him. Ellie’s voice is frustratingly inconsistent. Ellie can be vulnerable, she can be mean, and she can be calculating. But none of these things necessarily make her a murderer. With Ellie, readers have to grapple with a main character who may or may not be innocent but definitely isn’t a reliable or likeable narrator.

To complicate things further, readers know that the murder victim, Ellie’s husband Martin, isn’t what he seems from their very first encounters. If Ellie isn’t terribly likeable, it is far too easy for readers to start to hate Martin very quickly.

Interestingly, in this book, beyond Martin and one scene with Ellie’s father, this is a story about women. In Australia, the police detective Lozza, the bartender Rabz, and the neighbour Willow all become entangled in Ellie and Martin’s life. Lozza is as compromised a narrator as Ellie and readers are forced to untangle facts from bias, emotion, and personal interpretation as they start to piece together an understanding of the true nature of the relationships between the women in Jarrawarra.

It is always difficult to review psychological thrillers without spoilers. I will say that there were several times that I was properly surprised by plot twists and the suspense at the end is brilliant. The pacing is excellent and the skill with which the author weaves the layered narratives together is admirable. This is a beautifully crafted book and a thoroughly enjoyable read.

Avid Reader – ☆☆☆☆
M/F Mystery
Triggers: Child death, Domestic violence, Drug abuse

This book didn’t grab me right away. While I normally need a mystery to really suck me in quickly, I let this one slowly draw me in.

Martin Cresswell-Smith is a handsome man who goes after what he wants. He is charismatic, wealthy, successful, and two-faced. You don’t truly see the other side of Martin until he reveals himself to Ellie.

Ellie has been looking for love her whole life. With an absentee father, a husband who wasn’t paying enough attention to her, and a life that has fallen in to shambles, Ellie self-medicates. Despite the tragedies in her life, Ellie wants to move forward, wants to be happy. When she meets Martin, she thinks that her life might just be turning around.

What follows is a back and forth of past and present. You get to see Martin and Ellie’s relationship from inside and outside, the new community they live in from different perspectives, and you get to try and puzzle out what Constable Lozza Bianchi is seeing.

Bianchi is a great character who brings another level of depth to the story. I really enjoyed watching her try and figure out the mystery. She was a strong personality, but she was also compassionate and very real.

This book gives you twists and turns throughout, and you’ll be wondering what’s going on until the end. I really enjoyed this once I got into the story. I admit that the back and forth was sometimes hard to follow, but the overall story was well developed.

Veronica – ☆☆☆
In the Deep is a psychological thriller and one where the story is told in both the present and the past. Importantly, it is always clear which time we are in and we know from the outset that the wife is on trial for the murder of her husband. Ultimately though, the majority of the story is told in the past.

Early on we spend a lot of time with our main character, Ellie. We learn about her life, her past, and how she meets her now dead husband, Martin. I have to say at this point in the story I was starting to lose interest. I didn’t find Ellie a particularly appealing character and Martin was clearly dodgy. But then, briefly, a new player entered the story and I knew things were far more complicated than they seemed, so I was curious enough to push on.

While I found the start of the story slow, when the couple moves to Australia things really take a dark turn. The tension builds and there is plenty of action that got my heart pumping, which I really enjoyed and it kept me turning the pages. There is a scene with Martin and Ellie out on his boat that is actually a bit scary and so well done.

Often reading stories in this genre you don’t know who to trust or who is telling the truth. In this story, however, I found it obvious at times who was deceiving who and who was likely involved, we just didn’t know all the details. When the big twist came, it was like a quick reveal and the story was hurriedly concluded. The ending was way too rushed and we were given an information dump at the end to wrap it up. It felt like we spent so much time in the beginning on boring parts of the story and at the end we were rushed right through some juicy bits.

In the Deep had some good parts and some not so good things, but overall I enjoyed it. Three stars from me.
Was this review helpful?
WOW….WOW…..Double WOW…

It’s been really a long time that a book has left me utterly speechless and gasping for breath as if I have been underwater after the final chapter was done.

The story begins with a court scene in New South Wales and a picture is formed of a wife accused of murdering her husband. We are then introduced to the main characters to the story, Ellie Hartley, the heiress to the Hartley Empire who is recovering from a very public meltdown with her ex-husband and court mandated institutionalized after the loss of her 3 yr old daughter to drowning. As always at loggerheads with her father, craving for attention, she meets the very mysterious Martin Creswell-Smith and falls hard. A whirlwind romance, and a impetuous marriage followed by a promised grand adventure in Jarrawara Bay, Ellie’s castles comes tumbling down.

There are 3 parts to the story that details the NOW scene of the murder trail, the THEN of Lozza Bianchi as she becomes involved with the case and the THEN of Ellie whose crazy spins leaves us with a sense of foreboding. Jarrawara Bay is described beautifully, but the Australian town doesn’t spell any warmth, the humidity, the spiders, the flying bats the swamps giving it a feeling of dreaded menace.

This is my first book by Loreth Ann White and if this is how good she has been writing I am sorry that I have missed reading them. There’s level of manipulation of the reader’s minds that is completely mind-blowing that the twists and turns in the story feels like an impregnable tunnel. There are enough cues mentioned at random but we are led to believe a particular trail of crumpets before that final reveal in the court and then to shock one’s senses with another twisty morsel that felt like WHAT, WHAT in the world was that??

Believe ME, this book has to be read to understand the total mindf**k that the author has orchestrated and I can keep going ON and ON🙄🙄🙄 but without any doubt one of the best this year for me.
Was this review helpful?
There’s a scene in IN THE DEEP that takes place during a magic show. Martin Creswell-Smith is telling Ellie Tyler that a magician must successfully misdirect the audience to achieve their aim; they need to make viewers look one way, while something slips past another way. Well, Loreth Anne White, you got me. I do my best to unravel a mystery before the book’s denouement, but the big twist in this book got away from me. 

One indisputable fact we learn early on is that Martin Creswell-Smith is dead. From their whirlwind courtship, followed by a brief, tumultuous marriage that ends in murder, Martin and Ellie’s relationship plays out publicly and privately. There is physical and verbal abuse, there are games and secrets and infidelity. There is Ellie’s battle with alcohol and drugs; a battle that she often loses, resulting in loss of memory. It’s no wonder she’s a prime suspect in Martin’s murder. Ellie certainly had the means, motive and opportunity, but things aren’t quite fitting together. Is Ellie clever enough to get away with it? Or is there something else at play? 

IN THE DEEP kept me entertained and invested in the story. I was unsure of who killed Martin until the reveal. Frankly, it got to the point where I could argue that multiple characters seemed suspicious but that final nail in the coffin was missing.
I enjoyed White’s writing style. The words flowed smoothly, and I particularly enjoyed her description of the NSW South Coast; I could feel the heat, see the landscape and hear the screeching of those pesky bats and other – unfamiliar to Ellie – animals. 

I’ll definitely be looking to read more of this author’s work.
Was this review helpful?
With In The Deep, Loreth Anne White departs from her usual settings of the chilly Pacific Northwest or the Canadian tundra and takes us to the warm, subtropical coast of Australia’s New South Wales. This isn’t her usual police procedural/murder mystery fare either, because while there is a murder to solve, the story is told by the suspects and those closest to the victim, rather than by those investigating the crime. It’s a domestic noir type of psychological thriller… and Loreth Anne White proves to be equally as adept with this type of fare, because In The Deep is quite simply brilliant.

Heiress Ellie Tyler is still deep in grief and trauma after the drowning death of her daughter when she meets Martin Cresswell-Smith, Australian real estate developer. After a whirlwind courtship, the pair marry in Vegas and Ellie travels to Australia where Martin is working on a major new marina development in the tiny beachside town of Jarrawarra Bay. On his own turf, Martin is a very different man to the fun-loving, charming one Ellie thought she’d married, though. A few locals do their best to be friendly, but Ellie quickly realises she’s in over her head.

The story is told in two timelines set a little over a year apart; Ellie’s first meeting and brief romance with Martin and her coming to Jarrawarra Bay… and the murder trial after Martin’s body is discovered.

I had my suspicions about the real villain from their introduction, but I have to admit the twist itself flabbergasted me when it came, despite the fact that I had all the information right from the beginning. White is a master storyteller who performs a brilliant piece of sleight-of-hand writing here, telling you the truth while simultaneously showing you a lie, and because of the way our brains are wired, we follow along with the lie and don’t spot the real truth until it’s pointed out. A second little twist right at the end got me as well, and I put the book down both delighted and discomfited by how cleverly I’d been misdirected.

The Australian settings are very well done; the author spent time in the area described and had Australian readers to check the writing before publication, though a very un-Australian terror of the wildlife did creep in at times. Perfectly understandable in the Canadian heroine but not so much when an Aussie character freaked out over a redback spider. That was my only tiny niggle in an entirely fantastic story, and since international audiences would probably think it entirely legitimate to freak out over a poisonous spider, it’s absolutely forgivable. I’m delighted to give this story five stars and I’m really looking forward to see what the author decides to write next.
Was this review helpful?
Advanced Reader Copy (ARC) provided by the Author and Publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an fair and honest review.

This is an intricate mystery-thriller-suspense and you have no idea who the baddie is or why until the very end. The plot has you looking in all different directions while it performs a slight of hand trick. I'm not going to say much about the plot, but if you liked "Gone Girl", this book is so much better.

Ellie suffered a tragic event when her daughter died and her husband left her. She spiraled into drug addition and depression. The will to climb out of that hole was weak, at best, but with each day it got a little better. One step, then another, until she was slowly moving forward. A chance meeting with a devastatingly handsome man has her wanting to live again and build a new life with him in an Australian coastal town where he is developing an new resort. After her arrival, her new life quickly spirals out of control and now she is facing murder charges in the death of her husband, Martin Cresswell-Smith. How she got here is the stuff of nightmares, or hallucinations.
Was this review helpful?
IN THE DEEP by Loreth Anne White is a contemporary, adult, psychological thriller focusing on Canadian heiress and children’s book artist Ellie Hartley Cresswell-Smith, and the investigation into the murder of her husband, real estate mogul Martin Cresswell Smith.

Told from several first and third person perspectives including Ellie Hartley and Senior Constable Laurel ‘Lozza’ Bianchi, IN THE DEEP follows Canadian heiress Ellie Hartley in the months following her whirlwind romance with Australian real estate mogul Martin Cresswell Smith. Within days after meeting Martin Cresswell, Ellie Hartley reluctantly agrees to a working European vacation culminated by their marriage in Las Vegas, Nevada. Four months will pass before Ellie joins Martin in Australia where her life is about to spiral out of control. Frequent unexplained blackouts blamed on the use of alcohol and drugs finds our heroine the prime suspect in her husband’s murder, a murder predicated on secrets and lies. As the investigation, by Senior Constable Detective Lozza Bianchi, into Ellie’s husband’s murder takes on a life of it’s own, the author pulls the reader into the backstory and history of Ellie’s life including her first marriage, her controlling father, her friendship with Dana Bainbridge in Vancouver BC, and her descent into madness at the expense of her own happiness and sanity.

IN THE DEEP takes place in Agnes Basin, New South Wales, Australia where Ellie becomes suspicious within minutes upon arrival. Although welcomed into the bosom of small town life, Ellie finds herself on the outside looking in, and the unenviable target of her new husband’s anger and rage. Not all is well in Ellie’s less than well-ordered life but she never expected to find herself on the defensive with strangers who meant more to her husband than she could ever have imagined.

Loreth Ann White pulls the reader into a suspense filled, psychological thriller of murder, deception, secrets and lies, intricate games of life and death. With a colorful, energetic and eclectic cast of secondary and supporting characters, IN THE DEEP is a complex and detailed story with so many twists and turns- you won’t be able to stop reading until the very end.





CHAPTERS/INDIGO: (Sandy_At_The_Reading_Cafe) posted
Was this review helpful?
A well-written, atmospheric narrative that delivers a smidge of dark romance. The characters are nicely crafted and some a bit dubious. Love all the twists and turns. A decent, middle-of-the-road suspense. 4 stars.

Thank you to #NetGalley for the ARC of #InTheDeep
Was this review helpful?
This book is simply fantastic!!  I really enjoyed this book!!  A lot of twist and turns and white knuckle suspense!!  I will definitely be reading more from this Author!
Was this review helpful?
[Thanks Netgalley for the ebook. This review is my honest opinion but just another opinion, you should read this book and judge it by yourself]
I'm not a thriller reader but sometimes I need the emotion that genre gives us so I search that kind of books. Since I've discovered Loreth Anne White thanks to Netgalley, she's become a must for me and one of my thriller references.
It's been days since I finished In The Deep and I'm still shaked by the reading. It's a fantastic book, so angsty I needed to stop reading to recover myself.. Loreth Anne White creates a web of secrets and deceives that keep you hooked but with an uneasy feeling, you're constantly suspicious of every character. I loved the way the book is written, although there are too much timelines for my taste. But everything has a reason and you finish the reading with you mouth open for one twist... or another (I suspected some things but other surprised me a lot!)
A fantastic reading.
Por qué me pido yo estos libros que me tienen sufriendo mientras leo?!??!? Descubrí a esta escritora en Netgalley y aquí me quedé, pegada a ella. No es que sean libros redondos pero tiene un modo de contar la historia que me tiene enganchada por completo. Aquí me he pasado casi todo el tiempo angustiada por una suma de cosas: lo que estaba sufriendo Ellie, la asfixiante ambientación australiana y una especie de sensación de que había algo que no cuadraba (y no me equivocaba, muajajaja). Loreth Anne sabe mantener muy bien la tensión, que va aumentando según avanza el libro y se vuelve más agobiante. Me he pasado todo el libro haciendo conjeturas sobre quién sería el asesino (porque un truculento asesinato es lo que mueve todo) y, por desgracia, mi sospecha temprana era cierta, con lo que el clímax final ha sido un poco descafeinado. De todos modos, esta escritora se guarda un as en la manga que hace que sea ella la que dice la última palabra...
En fin, un thriller muy decente que me ha tenido muy viciada.
Was this review helpful?
Loreth Anne White never fails to deliver an enjoyable read!  I have to say that while I read it, I enjoyed but soon forgot about it when I started another book. This was not a story that stuck with me nor that I thought about after I read the last word.

Although this was not one of my favorites by her, I would still recommend it.

Thank you #netgalley and #montlakeromance for the eARC.
Was this review helpful?
Loreth Anne White is one of my favourite authors, and I’m always ready to get stuck into a new book by her.  Her latest novel, In the Deep, is a fabulous read, a superbly constructed, clever thriller surrounding a murder that takes place in the Agnes Banks area of New South Wales, and I was pulled in straight away and hooked until the very end.

The book opens on the dramatic scene of the arrival of a murder suspect at the court where she is to be tried for the murder of her husband.  The car is greeted by angry crowds calling for justice, reporters, photographers, people waving mobile phones  - and when she and her lawyer exit the car, they’re surrounded by journalists eager for quotes.  It’s hard for her not to react to some of the horrible things being shouted at her, and as she’s swept inside, she can’t help asking herself how she’s come to be here.  When did it begin?

We then skip back to just over a year earlier, and to the discovery of a dead body in a swampy channel off the Agnes River.  Senior Constable Lauren – Lozza – Bianchi has reason to believe it to be that of property developer Martin Creswell-Smith, who was last seen heading out to sea in his boat four days earlier.  Which begs the question - if he’d gone overboard at his last known position ten klicks out to sea, how has his body come to be up tangled in a clump of illegal crab-pot lines in the Agnes Basin?  When Lozza and her fellow officer inspect the body more closely, they can see it’s been mutilated – clearly Creswell-Smith’s death was no accident.

Skipping back almost another year, we meet Ellie Hartley, a young woman whose life fell apart following the death by drowning of her three-year-old daughter Chloe.  Ellie blames herself for what happened; her marriage broke down under the weight of grief and guilt and Ellie became dependent on drugs and alcohol.  But she’s gradually emerging from that dark place of tragedy and despair and now, at the beginning of a new year, is determined to make a new beginning for herself.

That new beginning gets underway quickly after Ellie meets the handsome, charming Martin Creswell-Smith.  He’s in Vancouver seeking investors for his latest project – the development of a luxury resort in New South Wales – and over the following months, Martin drops in and out of Ellie’s life, whisking her away on exotic, romantic vacations at a moment’s notice, his attentiveness and understanding making her feel special  and wanted.  After they marry – at Ellie’s suggestion  - while they’re in Vegas on one of their whirlwind trips, Ellie packs up her old life and moves with Martin to Australia.

Which is when things start to go very, very wrong.

I really don’t want to say too much about the plot, which is diabolically clever, and will work best if you go in knowing as little as possible.   I think I can safely say that it’s fairly obvious to the reader right from the start that Martin isn’t at all what he seems, but that’s just about all you’re going to get from me!

Loreth Anne White has penned a fast-paced, gripping tale of psychological suspense that will slowly tie you up in knots, each turn of the screw ratcheting up the tension and the stakes that little bit more.  The characters are complex and three-dimensional; none of them are particularly likeable, but they’re compelling nonetheless, and at the centre is Ellie, riddled with insecurities and battling addiction, an unreliable narrator who should, given what she’s been through, elicit the reader’s sympathy, but who has an edge to her that means we’re never quite sure if she’s killer or victim.

One of the themes running through the book is that of misdirection, the ability of the trickster “to make us all look at thing one way while something is slipped past us another way.”  The author brilliantly uses such devices herself to tell the reader one thing and show them another, to imply that characters are one thing, and then another – and ultimately, to deliver a real coup de grâce towards the end which was so utterly brilliant that I put down my Kindle to give her a round of applause.

“The magician is much the same as a storyteller-a trickster who uses misdirection, sleight of hand, to manipulate a person’s beliefs about the world.”

Everything else about the book works wonderfully, too, from the structure - the split between Ellie’s story “Now” and “Then”, interspersed with scenes of the murder investigation – to the vividly described locations, which enable the reader to feel the sweltering heat and humidity, see the bizzare flying foxes, hear the screeching of the Kookaburras and smell the Eucalyptus trees.  I also appreciated those moments of insight the author offers into the perception of mental illness and those who have survived it.

In the Deep is a remarkable piece of storytelling, a riveting tale of emotional manipulation, betrayal and palpable fear that will keep you glued to its pages from first to last.

Note: This book contains one scene (not graphic) of sexual assault and the implication that others have taken place.

Buy it at: Amazon, Audible, or your local independent bookstore
Visit our Amazon Storefront
Was this review helpful?