4 out of 4 stars
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Waves Break (on Unknown Shores) is a crime-mystery thriller by Barry Litherland. It is written in the first-person point of view in the present tense. This device is perfectly executed to include banter and detailed descriptions of the other characters. The narrator is the main protagonist: a journalist named Philip. He is an unreliable narrator; he defers the revelation of information and digresses as the plot progresses — this device has also been perfectly implemented in this book.
A man has been severely injured during a burglary and a mysterious package stolen from his safe. This package contains documents about a shady business deal that would expose powerful people if disclosed. Wayne, Philip's best friend, is the prime suspect, owing to his knack for getting into trouble since he was a child. Additionally, he had been seen at the scene of the burglary. The people who would be implicated will do anything to prevent the contents of this package from being revealed. Philip is depicted as the only one who, while not having the package, has the means to retrieve it from Wayne. However, given Wayne's relationship with the injured man's daughter, Philip believes Wayne is innocent. For this reason, he must find the true culprit for three reasons; first, he is a journalist and in need of a story, second, he needs to prove that his friend is innocent, and third, his life is in danger. The people who would be implicated have threatened Philip, blackmailed him, and even injured him as an incentive to make him retrieve the package.
Philip will investigate a missing person's case, burglary, and even murder before the true culprit is found. Will he succeed? Will he survive long enough to find the true culprits? Who are the true culprits? Does Philip, a minor-league journalist, possess the detective skills that he will need for this quest? Only the final pages will tell.
There are so many aspects I loved about this book — I'm probably not going to list them all. Being a mystery novel, it probably goes without saying that the first thing I loved about the book was its gripping suspense. The author made it hard to know who the true culprits were. I loved following along guessing only to have my guesses turn out to be wrong. Every chapter brought more twists and mysteries. Shortly after solving one mystery, a fresh (even more convoluted) one would build from the one just concluded keeping me well hooked till the end. The author has done excellent plot and character development in this book. Every character is described in great detail – occasionally revisiting their childhood lives. This will help the reader understand and connect with the characters better.
The plot is easy to follow and understand. The writing style allows you to share Philip's fear, anger, and hopes as you read along – at times compulsively helping him make decisions. The book creates a sort of mysterious convoluted web then goes on to unravel piece by piece until everything is revealed in the final chapters. The first pages are about setting the pace as characters are introduced and developed. Then the plot gets more convoluted as the story progresses – more twists and more players being added to the mystery. Finally, the mystery is unraveled bit by bit until the full picture is portrayed in the end.
There is nothing I disliked about the book. It is professionally edited as I didn't find even a single typo or grammatical error. This is one classic novel; the gripping suspense will ensure you keep turning the pages till the end. I would rate the book 4 out of 4 stars. Kudos to the author for a book well penned and a plot well executed.
I would recommend this book to lovers of the C/T/M/H genre. There is intense character-driven swearing and profanity thus this book might not be suitable for young readers. Nonetheless, the book is very intriguing, and you don't have to be a C/T/M/H lover to enjoy it.
Waves Break (on Unknown Shores)
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