Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Bay of Fires by Poppy Gee

Bay of Fires
Poppy Gee
Hachette, 2013

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About The Book
When the body of a backpacker washes ashore in an idyllic small town in Tasmania, the close-knit community starts to fall apart. As long-buried secrets start to come out, the delicate balance of their fragile lives is threatened...
Deep in a national park on the east coast of Tasmania, the Bay of Fires is an idyllic holiday community. There are no more than a dozen shacks beside the lagoon - and secrets are hard to keep; the intimacy of other people's lives is their nourishment. The fact that Sarah Avery has returned, having left her boyfriend and her job, is cause for gossip in itself. Then, the bikini-clad body of a young girl is found washed up on the beach a year after another teenage girl went missing. Journalist Hall Flynn is sent to the coast to investigate, and all too quickly the close-knit community turns in on itself. (from the Hachette Website)

My Thoughts
A few years ago I wrote a story where the main character went out dancing often on weekends and occasionally drank a lot. I gave it to a friend to read and she didn't like it because she didn't get the character's lifestyle. Reading Bay of Fires helps me to understand how my friend felt reading my story. I didn't really understand the motivation behind Sarah's actions, namely the amount she drank... and she didn't seem to do much reflection on why she was drinking. It was like she was emotionally detached from it.

I thought the novel was a good read. I enjoyed it, even if I didn't really like it that much. None of the characters were particularly likeable. Although I do think the best drawn one was Roger Coker and his "otherness" made him the focus of the town's attempts to try and solve the murders. I sort of picked the likely suspect early on just because they annoyed me and the writing was trying to not make them stand out too much.

What I do think was well done was the community itself, with it's claustrophobic nature where everyone knows everyone else, but also everyone had their opinion as to who had committed the murders. Namely the outsider Roger. It also felt like everyone had a secret and we didn't always find out what the secrets were. I'm still sure that Don was up to no good! The town itself was also well described, with the landscape coming to life.

It is not a traditional mystery novel and I have read reviews written by readers who like mysteries who didn't really enjoy this book, so I wouldn't recommend it to mystery readers.

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