Hey, everyone. I’m pleased to report I’m making progress with my Goodread’s challenge this year. In fact, I’m probably doing more reading than writing. But that’s another story. Today, I’m reviewing a book that’s been on my Kindle for a while. It was my first time to read anything by Elizabeth Hall (no relation).
I purchased The Music of The Deep sometime in 2019 after seeing it on a list of recommended novels. It recently came to the top of my TBR list. I had not read this author before, but the blurb and the cover intrigued me, so I didn’t bother to read what others had to say.
What I expected was a mystery/suspense novel with a bit of the supernatural. The prologue sucked me in. It begins with an older woman, Emmie, standing near a cemetery and looking toward the streets of a small town. I was immediately impressed with the author’s vivid descriptions and how she managed to show readers something terrible, perhaps even sinister, was about to happen.
In the first chapter, the protagonist, Alex, arrives on Saratoga Island. It was then I started to notice the author’s tendency to repeat words. Within a few paragraphs, she told us three times the aroma of cedar filled the air. (Thank you, but I got it the first time.)
Throughout the book, I found several instances where consecutive sentences started or ended with the same words. There were numerous incidents of where the author repeated information within a scene or chapter. I lost count how many times she used the word orca in one passage.
The internal editor in me wanted to say, “You’ve already said that,” or “You can eliminate this word,” or, “Can you not say whale on occasion to break the monotony?”
Despite those “bumps,” I was fascinated enough to keep reading.
What I didn’t expect was for the book to read like a scientific article on the lives of orcas, which it did in several places. There were also numerous facts about victims of domestic violence. The author also pointed out how humankind had destroyed the natural order of things in the world and was responsible for the demise of the killer whales. She did stop at getting too political, something that is a turn off for me in novels even if I happen to agree with the author’s position.
The Music of The Deep was not only about Alex, but also told the stories of secondary characters Emmie and Maggie, and to a lesser extent, Robin. There were numerous flashback scenes woven throughout the book, but the author clearly defined those by starting a new chapter or using a section break so as not to confuse the reader.
For me, the ending was less than satisfactory. There wasn’t a real resolution—not for the orcas (which I would expect), not for Alex, and not for the mystery of a woman who disappeared in the 1980s. If you like things wrapped up in neat, tidy packages, this book is not for you.
However, I still enjoyed this novel. Despite the unsatisfactory ending, I give the storyline five stars. The redundancies in writing and sometimes unrealistic dialogue warrant three stars. Overall, I rate it four.
Fleeing an abusive marriage and tormented by her past, Alexandra Turner finds solace in a small coastal town on Puget Sound and a job with a local marine biologist studying orcas.
After befriending a group of locals, Alex learns that she has moved to a place that has a reputation of being the “most haunted town in Washington.” Such superstitions would be easy to dismiss…if Alex wasn’t already on edge.
Haunted by shreds of memories of her days with her husband, Alex can’t keep from looking over her shoulder. As unexplained sounds and scents accumulate, and unnerving forces seem to take hold, Alex is beginning to believe that she’s not escaping her ghosts, after all. In fact, she might finally be inviting them in.