I was hooked after reading the author's notes at the front of the book. "I've long had an affinity for films about vacations gone horribly wrong". She also references Dead Calm, The Beach and The Ruins. All films and books I've really enjoyed. Oh, and she's an experienced sailor. The book benefits from that inside knowledge as well.
Deep Water opens with the ending. We know the outcome, but nothing else - the how, the why, the who. Just Virginie praying her husband survives....
Virginie and Jake are newlyweds with a dream of sailing their own yacht wherever they choose. At a port on the way to Thailand, an older man tells them of a beautiful island that few know about, completely off the grid and 'about as remote as you can get in this world.'
Uh, huh - sounds amazing, doesn't it? It does, and Virginie and Jake decide to change their itinerary to go the island named Amarante. When they arrive, there are two other boats and a third shows up. Things start off well, but.....
And that's where I'm going to leave things, so you can experience Bamford's wonderfully insidious plotting. She builds the tension and suspense slowly, layer by layer. It seems easy to dismiss somebody's actions and behaviour when you've just met them. But as the reader looking from outside in, I could see where things might be headed. And I found myself talking out loud, telling Virginie to open her eyes!
The description of the island was vivid. I thought that one element of the island's past might have figured larger. And it does in a sense if you look at what's happening amongst the characters.
I chose to listen to Deep Water. The book was narrated by Sophie Roberts and Daniel York Loh. I liked that there were two readers to cover the story. Loh's voice was perfect for Malaysian Navy Captain Danial Tengku. We meet him at the end/beginning and it is his voice that recounts what he knows/sees and hears from Virginie. He also ends up playing a larger part than I expected. The voice he employs has gravitas, comforting in it's gravelly, take charge tone. It also has an accent that matches the description of the character. Loh's voice has movement, capturing the plot easily. The voice for Virginie is British. It's a light, pleasant voice, easy on the ears. She captures the depiction of lead character for Virginie. There are some other male voices that Roberts reads. I would have preferred another male reader take the parts of the other male boaters. There's not much difference between Virginie's voice and the others on the island. The voice for the prime protagonist sometimes has an a slight accent, but not always. But overall, I enjoyed the book and the performance. Hear for yourself - listen to an audio excerpt of Deep Water.