Sea Scope (2019) by Debbie De Louise is a suspenseful thriller which keeps readers turning the page.
The plot follows the main character Sarah Collins. Readers follow her journey as she goes back to Sea Scope accompanied by her friend Carolyn after twenty years of escaping her past there. Twenty years previously a young man Michael Gamboski died in suspicious circumstances at the lighthouse. At the time his death was pronounced a suicide but was it? Sarah is also mourning the passing of her brother Glen who was killed in a motorcycle accident which may or may not have been an accident. Added to all this, she is also trying to keep her marriage to her husband Derek on track despite the strain of not becoming parents and her fears that he is having an affair. Sarah’s aunt Julie is now running the lighthouse and she is secretly hoping that Sarah will come back to take the helm. Aunt Julie invites Sarah’s mother, her childhood pal Russell and employee and friend Wanda to join Sarah, Carolyn and herself. There is a very Agatha Christie vibe to the book. A claustrophobic space where numerous guests/potential suspects are all gathered. And there are secrets left, right and centre.
There is also some interesting lighthouse trivia scattered throughout the novel. This is cleverly woven in as student Michael Gamboski’s research which means it doesn’t feel out of place in the middle of the book. I think the plot is gorgeously put together and the idea of the texts sent to Sarah’s phone from her deceased younger brother’s phone was a great idea as were the crayon clues imitating Glen’s childhood game of giving clues to items he had hidden. The flashbacks were used in just the right places too. We get excellent backstory about Sarah and each of the major characters in the plot which really adds to the dynamics of the plot and helps absorb the reader more in the story.
Sarah’s flaws are used perfectly in the plot in order to heighten the mystery element. We are introduced early on to her snobby side when she fears that the bathrooms in McDonalds will not be clean and this serves well later in the plot when she becomes briefly convinced that Wanda, possibly because she is the employee, has to be the killer or at least be the one leaving the clues. This is shared by most, if not all to some extent, of the people staying currently at Sea Scope. This classism is used very cleverly to reflect away from many of the secrets of others involved by the author. Sarah also has a tendency to jump to conclusions also shown in her instant feelings without proof that because someone with a feminine voice answered the phone at her house her husband was automatically having an affair. Another very cleverly woven in detail that left Sarah jumping to conclusions about the case and leaving the readers wondering which were red herrings and which were true?
My favourite character was Glen. I found he had a lot of humour to him and the contrast between him being the slightly annoying but adorable little brother and Sarah’s sensible, protective older sister nature really worked very well in the story. I could be wrong on this but from my reading of the story, the family struck me as middle-class and I kind of liked how unaffected he was by his background. He seemed very down-to-earth and had no problems living in a working-class area to further his work. His dialogue was very ordinary too and straight to the point. Maybe it was because I’m a working-class woman that I really liked that and took to him very easily. There was no pretentious air to him which was nice. And I kind of liked that he stated his opinions when he was younger on his lack of interest in history despite Russell being a bit of a know-it-all with a slightly superior attitude.
I like how the author wove the plot together without it being did in a contrived way. Everything added up by the end. Certain things with the husband were a little predictable but in terms of the main element which was the mystery side of things De Louise did a smashing job. And mystery writing is one of the most difficult genres of writing. There is so many things to remembers with suspects, their alibis and so much more before a writer even gets to tying the plot up in a believable way for their readers. De Louise did a great job with that. The suspense is also beautifully paced and by the final few chapters you are definitely immensely intrigued as to who is behind all this. I had a few people in mind for the killer/killers and I was wrong so that’s also a bonus plus point of this thriller because there is so many suspects who could be easily and plausibly involved that the killer/killers isn’t obvious but the outcome adds up nonetheless by the end.
A really gripping read full of mystery and intrigue.
To purchase Sea Scope by Debbie De Louise go to:
And for more about Debbie De Louise and her work go to: