• 3.7 • 59 Ratings
    • $14.99
    • $14.99

Publisher Description

One bad decision can tear your world apart . . .

December 1974. Abby Campbell and her brother Charlie are driving to their father’s farm on a dark country road when they swerve into the path of another car, forcing it into a tree. The pregnant driver is killed instantly.

In the heat of the moment, Abby and Charlie make a fateful decision. They flee, hoping heavy rain will erase the fact they were there. They both have too much to lose.

But they have no idea who they’ve just killed or how many lives will be affected by her death. Soon the truth is like a riptide they can’t escape, as their terrible secret pulls them down deeper by the day.

'An absolute tour de force . . . simply unputdownable.' Matthew Condon

Crime & Thrillers
4 February
Penguin Random House Australia
Penguin Random House Australia Pty Ltd

Customer Reviews

rhitc ,

Let her rip

Born San Francisco, grew up in Brisbane, now lives in Melbourne. Editor, copywriter, content manager for several websites. This is her second novel.

Mid-1970s Brisbane. Charlie and Abby are siblings in their 20s. Charlie, the younger one, runs a restaurant in Bali. The Abbster's 25 and married to Michael, an ABC investigative reporter (remember them?). She already has 3 ankle biters (ah, the 70s), but wants to go back to uni to study law. Their Mum died of cancer aged 31 when they were relatively young. They're estranged from their old man, who is not what you'd call warm and fuzzy. The book starts during the January 1974 floods, but the action starts in December that year. Charlie comes home for Xmas and he and Abby head off to see their Dad, who has made contact for the fist time in ages and wants to see them. He lives on a farm outside Chinchilla. Charlie falls asleep at the wheel (dope and alcohol will do that to you). A heavily pregnant woman driving the opposite direction is forced off the road, crashes, and croaks. Charlie persuades his sister to split the scene and keep quiet about it. Consequences follow, some of which should be apparent already.

Abby and Charlie are reasonably well drawn. The author worked hard to contrast their personality strengths and flaws. Too hard in my opinion, evoking Shiv and Roman Roy in 'Succession" at times. The supporting cast does the job. The trope of dodgy Qld police in the 1970s is well worn. Ms Alexander uses it again, just in case we've forgotten.

Third person alternating between Shiv and Roman, I mean Abby and Charlie.

Probably 50 pages too long. Otherwise, no complaints. Every time Ms Alexander seems about to get carried away with an interior monologue, she manages to rein it in. Not enough authors do.

Bottom line
Ms Alexander's first novel was set in Louisiana. I bought this one because it was set in Brisbane in the 1970s, as was I. Her protagonists would have been born around 1950, older than me, and Ms A's profile shot suggests she's rather younger than me (most people are), which is probably why I wasn't feeling it. Not like I did from Andrew McGahan's 'Last Drinks' anyway.

rdtl ,

Beautifully written

Maybe a plot stretch at times, but the words carry you through. Wish more publishers would trust fabulous writing like this over formulaic plots.
Having just moved to Brisbane from the Sunshine Coast via other ports before, there were many familiar scenes - although you’re never going to see surf at Happy Valley ☺️

BustaFubula ,

Absolute must-read!

This book is one of my favourites of the past 12 months. It’s one of those novels that is like a time machine, picking you up and dumping you into 1970s Queensland. It pulls in lots of rich historical detail from that period that gives you a sense of both the major events of the time (cataclysmic weather, political upheaval) but also the small things you would notice, I imagine, if you walked in a home at the time. The author uses these details to colour in a dramatic family story told from a the perspective of brother and sister, Abby and Charlie, and then Riptides pulls you in and doesn’t let you go.

From the first explosive couple of chapters it yet manages to build to a riveting pace, constantly challenged the reader to answer tough questions - what would you do? I found myself second-guessing my own responses as the complex layers of the story and it’s characters’ lives became more and more entangled. While some points in the story will have you reaching into the pages wanting to give Charlie or Mark a good shake, you won’t doubt their motivations or decisions as the author has made incredibly well-rounded participants.

I’ve been recommending this to people who like richly-drawn family dramas, a dose of period culture and the kinds of twists and turns you’d normally find in an edge of the seat thriller film. Tense and addictive. Loved it.

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