Author : Dorothy Koomson
Title : The Brighton Mermaid
Pages : 490
Publisher : Random House UK
Publication date : May 17, 2018
Brighton Beach, 1993: Teenagers Nell and Jude find the body of a young woman and when no one comes to claim her, she becomes known as the Brighton Mermaid. Nell is still struggling to move on when, three weeks later, Jude disappears.
Twenty-five years on, Nell quits her job to find out who the Brighton Mermaid really was – and what happened to her best friend that summer.
But as Nell edges closer to the truth, dangerous things start to happen. Someone seems to be watching her every move, and soon she starts to wonder who in her life she can actually trust.
Despite having had a copy of The Friend on my bookshelf for months, I’ve still not gotten around to reading it and so The Brighton Mermaid is my very first introduction to Dorothy Koomson. It only took a few pages for me to realise it won’t be the last time I pick up one of her books as I quickly fell for the author’s captivating writing style.
Twenty-five years ago, Nell and her best friend Jude, discover the body of a young girl on a Brighton beach. Despite having the most wonderful mermaid tattoo, the girl is never identified and her killer is never caught. A few weeks later, Jude disappears. Now, Nell has taken a year off work to try and figure out what happened to Jude and maybe finally solve the murder of the Brighton Mermaid, as she was called.
The story is told through the characters of Nell and her sister Macy, and seamlessly switches between the past and the present. Both sisters have been affected by past events. Nell has commitment issues and is seemingly obsessed, whereas Macy is riddled with anxiety issues. Even knowing where they were both coming from and sympathising with them, I found both the sisters incredibly hard to connect to. However, their character development is incredibly intriguing and often made me almost forget about the mysteries that needed solving. These are complex, multi-layered characters that drew me in and kept me immersed throughout.
There are some truly shocking moments that sometimes made this quite the uneasy read. Even more so as I have no doubt these things actually happen. Sadly. I don’t want to say anything more about this because I feel the impact will be even bigger when you read this for yourself. Suffice to say though, they pretty much all involve an absolutely vile and despicable character that made my skin crawl.
The Brighton Mermaid is incredibly well plotted and a truly compelling story. It’s dark, haunting, harrowing and disturbing. The first part of the story is relatively on the slow side as the scene is set but hold on to your pants when things really kick off! I couldn’t at all predict the outcome and ended up being suspicious of just about everyone. This brilliantly written book has put Dorothy Koomson firmly onto my radar and I very much look forward to reading some of her other work.
The Brighton Mermaid is available for purchase!