Dark Tide by Elizabeth Haynes (Harper,March, 2013)-Londoner Genevieve has left a stressful job behind to buy a houseboat and spend a year fixing it up, a dream that she once shared with her father and makes her feel closer to his memory since his death. The renovation is therapeutic and she enjoys time with her fellow liveaboards, who have a slower paced way of life that she finds refreshing. However, her calm is about to be shattered when she finds the body of a former coworker washed up right outside her boat. Of course she’ll be questioned by the police and she’s terrified that her “other” job will come to light: that of a dancer at a club called the Barclay. In fact, the dead girl was a dancer there too and was her only real friend during that time. Genevieve is devastated by her death, but she’s got a few secrets that are in her best interests to keep, and a longing for a man from her past, who is intimately entwined with her time at the Barclay.
I was in the mood for a slightly brooding, intimate thriller, and I got exactly what I was looking for in Dark Tide. Genevieve narrates, and in between current events, she slowly unfolds the events that led up to her friend’s death, and also details her time as a dancer at the Barclay. This was one of the things that I found so refreshing about the novel. Yes, Genevieve is a bit conflicted about her time there and would rather leave it behind her, however, in her telling, it’s obvious she actually enjoys herself while dancing, tuning everyone out and reveling in the simple power of her own body. While at the Barclay, she becomes involved (not quite romantically, not at the outset) with quiet and stoic bodyguard Dylan, who serves the interest of the enigmatic owner, yet becomes very protective of her. Genevieve throws herself into dancing with a single-mindedness that is fascinating and even does a few things that test her limits, because the lure of the money is just that good. Don’t worry, there are no torrid stories of prostitution to be had here, and although the author provides plenty of tense moments throughout, it’s really Genevieve’s personal story that carries the day. Her relationship with Dylan is also one of the most angst ridden and wonderfully frustrating love stories I’ve read in a while. I loved the ending and I really enjoyed the getting there. I’m also hoping we’ll see Genevieve in future novels. Fingers crossed!