Monday, April 20, 2020

Black Rock Bay by Brianna Labuskes (thoughts)

Summary from Goodreads:

"Detective Mia Hart never planned to return home. One terrifying summer night, Mia lost two of her closest friends to suicide. Scarred and broken, she fled St. Lucy’s, a small island off the coast of Maine.
Now fifteen years later, when the body of a journalist is fished out of the bay near St. Lucy’s cliffs, Mia is forced to help with the case—and face all she’s been running from. As she approaches the island, the wintery winds of Black Rock Bay usher Mia home again.
When Mia digs into the reporter’s death, she finds he left behind a written clue: It wasn't suicide. Mia soon discovers it’s her own tragic past he was referring to. Now, as she tries to untangle a web of lies, Mia realizes that solving this case means becoming the next pawn in someone’s blood-chilling game of truth or die."
My Thoughts:
Black Rock Bay was a really atmospheric and intriguing mystery that has me excited to read more by this author!  This is my first book by this author but it certainly won't be my last!  One of the things that I enjoyed about this book so much was the sense of isolation that was present throughout this book.  Mia and her partner Izzy go back to the island where Mia grew up - it's this tiny island that is difficult to reach and with a very small population.  The island is also this strange place where no one trusts outsiders and really most of the islanders cannot be trusted themselves.  And then there were constant storms, snow, and other difficult weather that just gave this book such an eerie feeling.  The constant sense of isolation that was present was at times suffocating but so very suspenseful!  I loved every minute of it!  I also loved the feeling that there wasn't anyone that I as the reader could really trust (even Mia herself with her missing memories).  Izzy was about the only one that I fully trusted throughout the entire book.  I saw another review that compared this book to Gillian Flynn's Sharp Objects - I can definitely see the comparison.  This book has that same layer of distrust that is present throughout the book and it also has the small town feel where nothing is as it seems.  I love books that are atmospheric and keep me guessing the entire time!  My one complaint is that I just didn't quite jibe with the ending and I can't put my finger on why.  It was good (don't get me wrong) but just didn't feel as strong as the rest of the book.  I wish I could put it into words more but it would be a spoiler and I'm not even sure I could explain it if I tried.  I think I just wanted a bit more maybe so let's leave it at that.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book and will definitely be reading more by this author!  The tension and suspense in this book were top notch!  I truly hope that other readers find this book because it deserves way more attention than it has gotten.  I don't think I've seen it on bookstagram at all which is a shame!  I think that readers will enjoy this one if they enjoy isolated or locked room mysteries (not quite the same but the island is cut off so close to same thing), if they enjoy slow building thrillers filled with suspense and atmosphere, and definitely if you enjoy books with characters where you don't know who to trust.  Highly recommended!

Bottom Line:  This book and author are one of my standout finds so far for 2020!

Disclosure:  I received a copy of this book thanks to the publisher and NetGalley.  Honest thoughts are my own.


  1. I've seen this author's books around, but have not read any of them. I like the cover on this one. Very atmospheric. Will keep it in mind. Hope you guys are well!

  2. This sounds really good. I have a friend who's always telling me about Maine and it's one of the States I haven't been to but must get to one day.


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