The Drowning Pool by Syd Moore

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The Drowning Pool by Syd Moore

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Category: General Fiction
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Louise Laurie
Reviewed by Louise Laurie
Summary: A young widow and her son re-locate to a quiet English coastal village for a fresh start. But when the past comes back to haunt Sarah Grey, she wishes she hadn't moved to the area at all.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 416 Date: September 2011
Publisher: Avon
ISBN: 978-1847562661

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The title's terrific. The blurb on the back cover says that this book is the launch of a fresh and exciting voice. I don't know about you but I prefer to take these statements with a good pinch of salt. It's a ghost story and I'm not all that keen on ghost stories.

The book opens with a group of young women out on the town, letting their hair down and having fun. Moore describes all of them in a fresh and modern voice which I really liked. It came across as a breath of fresh air. The story, Sarah's story is told by Sarah herself. But it's told from the perspective of looking back after it's all happened so there's lots of why-didn't-I-see-that-coming language. Hindsight, in a word.

Corinne, Shannon and Martha are local to the area and are taking great delight in telling newcomer Sarah all about the local folklore from a couple of centuries ago. They all think it hilarious and just a bit spooky that their new friend Sarah shares not only her first name but also her surname with this horrible old sea-witch called Sarah Grey. But it's dismissed as harmless coincidence and besides it's not as if it was Sarah's maiden name. We learn that Sarah has moved to the area after the untimely death of her husband.

Fairly early on in the book Moore explains all about The Drowning Pool and the explanation is macabre. The odd shocking sentence or two is also thrown into the narrative which serves to whet our appetites and to keep us reading. I had no trouble whatsoever in keeping reading, in keeping turning the pages as I really enjoyed Moore's style. Subtle, not over-played but with a sense of accumulating tension, paranoia and even danger.

We also learn that the modern-day Sarah Grey is a teacher. She's doing her best to settle into a new school and a new routine plus she has a young son to look after. Things are generally going well. Then Sarah starts to have these mysterious dreams which quickly turn into nightmares. Cleverly Moore has given Sarah a medical condition which may explain everything. Or then again it may not. The plot thickens nicely, as they say.

Moore also introduces a red herring or two to keep her readers guessing. I surprised myself by really enjoying this ghost story and I don't really like ghost stories so it just goes to show: judge the book by its cover at your peril. A lovely 'spooky' story told in refreshing and lively prose. Recommended.

If this book appeals then you might like to try Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor.

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Buy The Drowning Pool by Syd Moore at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Drowning Pool by Syd Moore at Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
Buy The Drowning Pool by Syd Moore at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Drowning Pool by Syd Moore at


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