The Devil and the Dark Water – Book Review

The Devil and the Dark Water by: Stuart Turton
Published on: October 6, 2020

Surviving isn’t winning. It is what you do when you’ve lost.

The Devil and the Dark Water is a paranormal mystery inspired by the Batavia shipwreck of 1628. The true story of the Batavia is horrific. A shipwreck by itself would be terrifying, but it takes a further insidious and sinister turn even after the survivors find their way to a nearby island. If you ever happen to read the true account, you might actually think it is a bad plot of a horror novel, except in this case it happens to be true. Drawing on this, the author uses people/roles, names, and places to create his story. And while there are similarities The Devil and the Dark Water is not a retelling or accounting of the actual shipwreck, but is its own unique story.

What fascinates me about the author’s works is how simple and yet intricate they are. Every character has relevance. Every character has a purpose. Each one has a backstory that becomes important in some way. And there are a lot of different characters to keep up with. Yet, they are all somehow intertwined together within the overall plot and mystery. Things you don’t think are important are. When at the end the solution to the mystery starts to reveal itself it amazed me how much detail and thought was given to the overall story. It’s a murder mystery, but it is so much more.

I listened to this one on audio book, which is narrated by James Cameron Stewart. I learned with the author’s first book that his are almost better on audio because of how it helps the story come alive and at a pacing that I can follow along with. A wide cast of characters and a narrator who can bring each one to life will almost always win me over. If there is any difficulty I had with the book, it is with the ending. Not, the ending or the big reveal – the part where everything is explained. That part I am good with. But, my issue was the very, very end. It just felt wrong to leave it the way it was left and I guess I wanted it to go a different direction.

Rating: 5 stars