Review: Beneath Cruel Waters by Jon Bassoff

☆☆➹⁀☆ 5 stars☆➹⁀☆☆

About the Book:

Holt Davidson, a Kansas firefighter, hasn’t been back to his hometown of Thompsonville, Colorado, for more than two decades, but when he learns that his estranged mother has taken her own life, he returns for the funeral, hoping to make peace with her memory. He spends the night at his childhood home, rummaging through each room, exploring the past. But instead of nostalgic souvenirs, he discovers a gun, a love letter, and a Polaroid photograph of a man lying in his own blood.

Who is the dead man? Was his mother the one who killed him, and, if so, why? Who sent the love letter? And what role did his sister, institutionalized since she was a teenager, play in this act of violence? As his own traumatic memories begin to resurface, Holt begins an investigation into his mother’s and sister’s pasts—as well as his own.A wrenching psychological thriller in the vein of Tana French’s In the Woods, Jon Bassoff’s Beneath Cruel Waters reminds us that the sins of the mothers are the sins of the sons.



My Thoughts:

Jon Bassoff draws you in without being brash about it.  The writing is subtle and nuanced, so as the story unfolds, it is a shock that Beneath Cruel Waters is such a disturbingly dark mystery.

Bassoff includes plenty of twists—some surprising and a few expected—that keep the plot tension steadily increasing to the story’s zenith.  In this character driven mystery, there are so many delicious family issues.  Narrated by three main characters, we readers get an in-depth view of this family’s dysfunctionality, secrets, and sins.

The familial issues are respectfully and tactfully handled by Bassoff.  The tone of the book is dark and emotionally trying. The writing is evocative without being flowery.  The characters are richly developed. Basoff’s writing makes Beneath Cruel Waters a chilling, must-read book!

About the Author: Jon Bassoff is the author of nine novels. His mountain gothic novel, Corrosion, has been translated in French and German and was nominated for the Grand Prix de Litterature Policiere, France’s biggest crime fiction award. His psycho-noir novel, The Disassembled Man, has been adapted for the big screen with a filming date set to begin within the next hundred years.

For his day job, Bassoff teaches high school English where he is known by students and faculty alike as the deranged writer guy. He is a connoisseur of tequila, hot sauces, psychobilly music, and flea-bag motels.

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