Review: The Devil and the Dark Water by Stuart Turton

The Devil and the Dark Water by Stuart Turton

Synopsis and Details:

A murder on the high seas. A detective duo. A demon who may or may not exist.

It’s 1634 and Samuel Pipps, the world’s greatest detective, is being transported to Amsterdam to be executed for a crime he may, or may not, have committed. Travelling with him is his loyal bodyguard, Arent Hayes, who is determined to prove his friend innocent.

But no sooner are they out to sea than devilry begins to blight the voyage. A twice-dead leper stalks the decks. Strange symbols appear on the sails. Livestock is slaughtered.

And then three passengers are marked for death, including Samuel.

Could a demon be responsible for their misfortunes?

With Pipps imprisoned, only Arent can solve a mystery that connects every passenger onboard. A mystery that stretches back into their past and now threatens to sink the ship, killing everybody on board.

Genres: Mystery, Thriller, Historical Fiction  |  Release Date: October 06, 2020  |  Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark  |  Length: 463 pages  |  ISBN: 978-1728206028  |  ASIN: B0861C89PR  |  Format: Hardcover  |  Source: Purchased

Review with Rating:

Rating: 3 out of 5.

The Devil and the Dark Water came out a little over four months ago and this was a book that I was really interested in reading. A murder mystery with a possible paranormal bent to it? Oh, how exciting! At first, this story felt like a Sherlock Holmes mystery with Arent Hayes playing the Watson to Samuel Pipps’ Holmes. Then the other characters were introduced and a wonderful complexity came into play because no one was as they seemed and there were some strange alliances being hinted at. I liked that there was a ship filled with suspects and I was kept guessing! 

What I will tell you straight out is that, though the setting is primarily aboard a ship, do not expect it to be a seafaring story. There are a few nautical terms and such to contend with but there was no special attention paid to the sea. Think of this story more as a locked room mystery with the “locked room” actually being a ship on an ocean voyage. Also, although this story has a historical time period, I wouldn’t consider it a historical novel. I did not have an issue with it not being those things but some readers might have certain expectations and I wanted to be clear about that.

Did I like the story? At the start, yes, very much! Then my interest in The Devil and the Dark Water waned as the story developed. The beginning was exciting, mysterious, and sinister but as the plot unfurled, I felt like some very obvious points, that had been introduced, were being overlooked. That is never a good feeling as a reader because I kept waiting for someone to notice what I felt was obviously a lead that should be explored. What truly left me feeling disappointed was the ending. I did not like it at all and there were, in my opinion, loose ends that were not tied up. I also felt that the ending was just ridiculous and that left an overall bad taste for me on the book as a whole.


The Devil and the Dark Water



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