The Dark Tide

The Dark Tide: Andrew Gross

3 / 5

A readable thriller.

Goodreads Rating: 3.65 / 5 

Published: 1st March 2008. Pages: 598. Publisher: William Morrow and Company.

Having read some James Patterson books I was given The Dark Tide because Andrew Gross has wrote some joint novels with Patterson. However, this novel was Gross’s own work, and although the premise for story was a good one it never really captivated me and my assessment of The Dark Tide is that it is a perfectly acceptable read for when you go on holiday and if you fancy some an easy reading thriller.

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Charles Friedman has been married to Karen for 18 years, he is a partner in an investment firm, and he has 2 kids and what seems like a good life. Until one day when a train is the target of a terrorist attack and he is presumed dead along with everybody else in the carriages. Karen and the kids mourn for him, but Karen’s head begins to spin when mysterious and un-Charlie like things begin to crop up. Karen is left a note which leads her to a safe-deposit box with a huge and unexplained amount of money and a fake passport all accompanied with Charlie’s signature. To make matters even more mysterious is the fact that Charlie visited the safe-deposit box hours after he was presumed dead in the train bombing.

Lieutenant Ty Hauck is working on a hit-and-run on the same day as the bombing. After completing interviews with witnesses and examining the body, he is not left with much to go on other than a note that was found among the person’s body. On the note was the name Charles Friedman.

Ty’s investigation leads him to Karen. Over the course of a year, threats are made to Karen and her children concerning some financial matters relating to Charlie’s investments which appear to have gone astray leaving some unsavoury characters out of pocket. Karen and Ty form a good investigative team as well as on a more personal level too, in their attempts to track down Charlie to find the answers Karen wants to know from him. However, the same unsavoury characters also want to find him to for reasons unknown to Karen and Ty.

The premise and ideas of the story were good, but the execution was a little to be desired. A story of 598 pages was far too long for this sort of story with many meaningless chapters with very little happening. Split into 4 parts and 106 chapters, it became very long winded and the suspense waned a bit as the reader is constantly waiting for the inevitable to happen. Predictability also features a lot as Gross was clearly setting up whatever was going to happen a few chapters before it actually happens and the intervening chapters were just filler. However, the biggest couple of issues I took with The Dark Tide were the poor editing concerning dialogue throughout the novel and repetitiveness. There were many instances where a conversation between Karen and Ty would involve a constant back and forth of finishing each piece of dialogue with the other’s name.

“You don’t have to remind me of what the stakes are Ty.”
“I think I’ve earned that trust , Karen.”
“This is my husband Ty. I told him yes, Ty.”
“Ty…”
“That’s not negotiable, Karen.”
“You can’t use me to get to him, Ty.”
“You think I’m going down to arrest him, Karen?”

The above, shortened, conversation is typical of the dialogue throughout the novel. I found this very distracting as ending every conversation with the other person’s name just seems unnatural and pointless. My final gripe I had with Gross’ writing style was the innumerable ways he has described how blood flows through Ty’s veins. He has used “stirred, coursed, stopped, froze, surged, became ice, skyrocket, started going wild, frenzy and the blood was almost bursting through his head” all to describe Ty’s bloodflow at various moments in novel, mainly when he is caught by surprise. The combination of all the above points contributed in bringing down the rating and preventing it from being anything other than a casual thriller that you can read without much hassle on holiday somewhere.

Although I have quite a few issues with Gross’ writing style and the editing of the book, it was an interesting read and although it hasn’t persuaded me to read more of Gross’ books, I would still read a book of his, if in collaboration with James Patterson. The main characters were likeable and the villains activities were always shrouded in mystery or danger, so on those points the book did engage me and despite its shortcomings it was a perfectly readable thriller.

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