Black Reed Bay by Rod Reynolds #BookReview #BlogTour

 

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…

I am thrilled to be hosting the blog tour for Black Reed Bay today. Many thanks to Rod Reynolds, Orenda Books and Anne Cater from Random Things Tours for inviting me and for my advance copy of the novel.

In my review of Blood Red City, Rod Reynolds' previous book, I praised his vibrant descriptions of London and the vivid, cinematic feel to the novel. He's moved the action stateside in Black Reed Bay but has captured that same impressive, enveloping sense of place in this first book to feature Detective Sergeant Casey Wray who lives and works in the fictional but very real Long Island town of Rockport.
The series hits the ground running when Casey and her partner, Cullen are called to investigate a 911 call received in the early hours of the morning from a clearly terrified young woman. They have little to go on, the recording reveals that she was fearful for her life but ends abruptly and now she is missing. The exclusive beachfront houses that line the street where she was last seen are the epitome of bay-front gentrification and the contrast between the shabby blue-collar neighbourhoods, in decline since the demise of the town's manufacturing base is used to great effect throughout the novel. These villas should be the American Dream and yet it's a place where residents keep their doors closed to a scared young woman and Casey suspects, holds the answers to what happened to Tina Grace.
The noirish feel to Black Reed Bay is augmented by the weather conditions; the villas might have enviable ocean views but the driving rain and battering waves cast a grey chill over the proceedings, and a snowstorm interrupts the difficult search of the bleak scrublands and salt marshes. However, despite the obvious frustration felt by the team as promising leads turn into dead ends and Tina remains missing, the propulsive action ensures that the nervous energy of the investigation is experienced by the readers too. There's a portentous sense of foreboding and it's not just down to the rising body count; it feels as if the police - and Casey in particular - are being played, with the killer always one step ahead of them.
This ominous tension alone would have me singing the praises of Black Reed Bay but when it's complemented by the exceptional characterisation seen here...well, it's not going to come as a surprise when I say that this is a very special thriller indeed. Casey comes fully-formed; she has a history and her relationship with her colleagues feels real, with the warm, wise-cracking relationship she has with her partner, Cullen being a particular highlight. Meanwhile, the enigmatic Captain McTeague is an intriguingly opaque character. The cop family doesn't have it easy here and there are some dramatic and emotional scenes which really help the readers understand what sort of protagonist Casey Wray will be.  The case consumes her at times but she isn't as jaded as some fictional detectives, she is cynical yet trusting, honest and hardworking. She has risen through the ranks despite having been a target of sexist taunts which have left her still second-guessing herself at times and has since succeeded in improving conditions for the women who have come after her. Tough yet fragile, the labyrinthine, harrowing nature of the case reveals her to be a rather solitary, even lonely figure at times even though she is obviously held in high regard by many of her fellow officers, and most importantly establishes her as a complex, compelling lead character in what will undoubtedly be a must-read series.
Black Reed Bay is a breathless, atmospheric thrill-ride but the exciting twists and intense revelations don't undermine the emotive humanity which is found throughout this sensational novel. I'm already desperate for more!

Black Reed Bay is published by Orenda Books. It can be purchased directly from their website or from bookshop.org, Hive, Waterstones, Kobo and Amazon but please consider supporting independent bookshops whenever possible.

Don't miss the rest of the tour, details are below.

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 John Creasey (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, his critically acclaimed standalone thriller, Blood Red City, is the first book set in his hometown, but he’s crossing the ocean again, with his explosive new thriller, Black Reed Bay. 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.

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