Death at High Tide

by: Hannah Dennison

The only good thing about this book is that it’s a fast read. Every character is awful. Our main character is meant to be a grieving widow who just recently lost her husband suddenly. She says she’s grieving but it isn’t shown. Telling me a character is grieving but not showing it won’t make me sympathetic to them. I felt nothing but annoyance for this character. Whenever she looked at someone there was an instant rattle off of the brands they were wearing. And every man she meets is attractive. Every single one.

She has a sister who is a caricature of the Hollywood producer. Blond, too skinny, loud and abrasive. She wears expensive clothing and name drops more than any actual person ever would. It is impossible to take her seriously. The sister is totally fine being in her sibling’s business and being nosy but when it’s the other way around and genuine concern she explodes. The way they handle each other doesn’t feel like a real sibling relationship.

That and the sister talks about trying to set up her recently widowed sister with one of the men they meet. It doesn’t sit well with the image of a grieving widow at all. But that image is barely there.
There’s an old woman who’s nosy, another who cheats, an abusive husband, various other people.
I take serious issue with a few things. One: one of the characters is suffering from a terminal illness. He’s taking very high doses of morphine. Out of nowhere he doubles over in pain and needs his medication. Less than twenty minutes later it’s apparently kicked in.

That’s not how it works, and media always gets this wrong. Firstly, someone suffering an illness who needs to take strong medication for it is always highly aware of the time to avoid being doubled over or incapacitated by their pain. It takes, at the very minimum thirty minutes for oral medication to begin to work because it has to be digested. I suffer from this myself and seeing it portrayed incorrectly when it’s so easy to get right is infuriating.

Next, the main character learns one of the others has a prison history. She immediately says that she sees this tattooed woman in a different light. Her tattoos become ominous, could they be gang affiliated. Yet she already knows one of the tattoos is just the stereotypical “name and name forever” type. Like names carved into a tree.
Not only does the sister name drop, but there’s also another older woman who talks too much about Netflix, the Kardashians, Game of Thrones. That and iPhones was mentioned multiple times. Too many brands that were listed in clusters. While they are real, they felt so out of place in the book and will do nothing but date the book as the years go by and these things become obsolete.

The first murder happens at the fifty percent point of the book and it holds no shock value at all. There was nothing about it that made me care. We’re given a sob story by the man who found the body who acts incredibly creepy and continuously grabs the main character even though she says to let go. The story of how he met the deceased is meant to be emotional but it comes out of nowhere and therefore has no real effect.
I will not be giving this author another read.


Author. Reader. Reviewer. Interested in Sci-fi, Fantasy, and everything in between. Ya, and Adult. Looking for representaion where it matters! BIPOC, LGBTQ+, disabled, everything! We all deserve stories!

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