The Lost Swimmer by Ann Turner

I knew The Lost Swimmer had won me over when I was standing in line at the supermarket and all I could think about was what was going to happen next in Ann Turner’s impressive debut novel. This suspenseful and dramatic thriller centres on archaeology professor Rebecca Wilding who is struggling with financial pressures in her department, emerging accusations of fraud and a growing suspicion that her husband Stephen is unfaithful. When Rebecca and Stephen embark on a conference trip to Greece, Italy and Paris, she has the chance to explore the source of the fraud allegations as well as face old demons regarding her father’s tragic death. When Stephen disappears, Rebecca has to consider just how deep her husband’s betrayal goes.

One of the most impressive elements of this book is Turner’s ability to maintain a feeling of uneasiness and suspense throughout almost the entire novel; especially memorable is an incident concerning a kangaroo and her joey (an incredibly harrowing three pages to read) as well as vivid descriptions of driving the perilous roads on the Amalfi coast. Further adding to the tension is the reader’s gradual awareness that Rebecca may not be the most reliable narrator, and while she is able to identify counterfeit jewellery in seconds, one starts to query if she is able to accurately identify what is happening around her. Continuing with this theme is the clever parallel between Rebecca’s field of archaeology and the personal ‘digging’ that she has to do in order to discover who might be deceiving her. These elements take The Lost Swimmer beyond a simple thriller to an insightful observation of people and their behaviour, and also make it a deeper study of loss, trust and what is hidden underneath. It also really made me want to travel again – although under completely different circumstances!

Amanda Rayner

Cover image for The Lost Swimmer

The Lost Swimmer

Ann Turner

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