Deep Water by Sarah Epstein

Sarah Epstein, the highly commended author of Small Spaces, has done it again with her new novel Deep Water. Once more we are set the challenge of untwisting a mystery.

Henry Weaver has been missing for three months. After a heavy storm his muddy bicycle was found at the train station, but it’s the only trace of him. Or is it? Chloe Baxter thinks there is more to the story and resolves to uncover the truth, even if that means questioning everyone in town, friends included. Mason Weaver is in free fall, but what’s the cause? His mum’s drinking and attitude are hard to take, but that’s nothing new for Mason, and of course his brother is missing, but there’s something more. And then there’s Henry’s strangely anonymous online Facebook friend. Was this a beneficial relationship or something sinister?

All set in a small rural Australian town that is struggling to survive, The Shallows is so easy to picture, it’s one of those places you drove through on a long trip, stopped for petrol and some lunch maybe or stayed overnight unexpectedly, but didn’t really engage with fully, not knowing that under the surface something’s brewing, wrong turns have been taken, bad decisions made.

With the clever writing and believable voices this book is constantly raising questions, giving morsels of answers and then adding more queries to the pot. It keeps you on the edge of your seat, it’s insightful and engaging. You will find yourself engrossed and determined to solve the mystery. For ages 13+.

Claire Atherfold is the children’s book buyer at Readings State Library.