How long can the past be kept secret?
It is a time of austerity. Financial cuts are biting hard and the once great City of Liverpool finds itself now almost bankrupt. At the eleventh hour funding is found in the form of enigmatic billionaire Kirk Bovind, a religious zealot, determined to change the moral and religious fibre of his old hometown and bringing salvation to the streets.
So when a man disappears without trace solitary lawyer, Erasmus Jones, agrees to track down missing Stephen, but quickly discovers that this is more than just a missing person case. Men are being brutally murdered across the city and Erasmus suspects the deaths are all linked.
As the search for Stephen grows and the ripples from the past begin to spread Erasmus has to ask himself whether Bovind could be behind the killings or if someone is trying to frame him and weaken the strangle hold he has over the city?
Who will be the next to die…?
There’s a lot packed into today’s post, I have an excerpt, my review and last but certainly not least a giveaway!! Let’s start with a sneak peak into The Silent Pool…
He cut down Shore Drive and soon he was on the beach. It had been transformed with the arrival of the Gormley statues a few years previously. Part of the whole Capital of Culture thing. Most of it a massive waste of money, in Marcus’ opinion. There were people starving in this city, you only had to open your eyes to see it, and yet it was acceptable to have millions of pounds going into the pockets of non-local celebrity artists for a pile of junk.
But, the statutes, even he had to admit, were an impressive and moving sight. The work was called Another Place. One hundred ghostly, life-size cast-iron figures dotted along three kilometres of the Crosby shore, sparse in some areas and becoming more congregated as they reached out far into the sea. The statues were cast from a mould of the artist’s own body, his genitalia on open show. And had the church spoken out about it? Not a dickybird, as usual. It seemed anything was allowed these days, except criticising the deviants. No wonder everything was going to Hell in a handcart.
Marcus led Toby across the sand dunes and down onto the shore. The beach was deserted and the incoming tide was already covering some of the statues. Soon they would soon be completely submerged.
Toby sniffed at a dead seagull and then took an exploratory nibble. Marcus dragged the dog onwards along the shore. He wanted to get away from the orange sodium streetlighting that cast its soft glow on the sand.
The rain was getting heavier. It was slating in off the sea almost horizontally and straight into his face. In the distance the Seaforth Atlantic terminal was lit up with arc lights, like a cityscape from some future metropolis. In front of it, huge wind turbines were revolving in the first of winter’s real storms.
Out of the gloom another dog walker appeared, his face almost totally obscured by the hood of his Berghaus jacket. The man was being led by a Malumute. Some people had no idea about dogs, thought Marcus. He would never be led by Toby.
He gave the chain a tug. Toby’s muzzle was cast downwards now as though even he wanted his walk to end. Marcus turned his face towards the rain driving in from the dark sea and pulled Toby out towards the shadows where there was a statue not yet surrendered to the advancing sea.
The statue was over six foot tall. It faced the oncoming sea as though in silent expectation. Marcus stood for a moment looking at the eyeless statue facing the Atlantic and the New World. Maybe he should have left all those years ago when he had the chance.
‘Bollocks to it all!’ he shouted into the wind and rain. He took a nip from his hip flask, the brandy was cheap but it felt like home.
Toby wagged his tail.
The sand was mushy here but it would be twenty minutes or so he reckoned before the sea covered this statue.
Toby sniffed around the base of the statue and then settled on his haunches.
‘Good lad,’ said Marcus. He patted the dog.
The water was lapping at this feet and he would have to get out of here soon. Maybe a pint and a packet of cheese and onion crisps in the Hangman’s Noose, his favourite pub on the front. That would be just the ticket on a night like this. He gave a shiver, part from cold and part in greedy expectation of his pint.
And then a hand gripped his shoulder.
Marcus froze, an image of the statue coming to life filled his mind. The muscles in his legs loosened. He thought he might collapse but the hand remained on his shoulder.
Slowly, he turned around.
Here’s what I thought…
I think the first thing to mention about this book is that I really liked the main character Erasmus, he has an underdog charm that I found endearing. I think he is a well-developed character and I thought that the drip-feeding of his back-story as it became relevant to the plot was very effective. I would maybe have liked to see the same development in some of his relationships with the other characters but since this is the first book in a series, I feel they will probably be explored more as the books continue.
The Silent Pool has a lot packed into it, murder, religion, addiction, war, violence and politics. The involvement of the religious movement The Third Wave and how they influence people to gain power and how this subsequently impacted Erasmus’s investigation was very interesting. I don’t think I’ve read a book that has dealt with that kind of subject and it made for very intense reading. There were points that I felt entirely frustrated at how the zealots were always one step ahead and I could feel myself getting angry from reading, which I think shows how absorbing this book is.
I really enjoyed how the elements of the storyline pieced together, the plot is very intricate but I won’t go into too many details because it would spoil the book. The connections between characters, and how the information within the book is revealed has all been very well planned out, and definitely manages to hook you in. Considering there are a lot of different elements to the story, at no point after finishing the book did I feel like there was something unanswered.
I did predict the culprit for who was responsible for Stephen’s disappearance fairly early on. However as this was actually such a small piece of the storyline, the mystery for me was then what lead them to that point, how that affected the rest of the characters and whether The Third Wave would manage to take over the city.
This is a very captivating book and it is very hard to put down once you get started, I would definitely recommend it.
Now to the really exciting bit, the giveaway, this one is UK only and open until the 19th of December, just click on the link to win…
Phil Kurthausen was brought up in Merseyside where he dreamt of being a novelist but ended up working as a lawyer. He has travelled the world working as a flower salesman, a light bulb repair technician and, though scared of heights, painting the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Ken Dodd once put him in a headlock for being annoying.
He has had work broadcast on BBC radio 4 extra, published some short stories and his novel ‘The Killing Pool’ won the Thriller Round in the Harper Collins People’s Novelist Competition broadcast on ITV in November 2011 and appeared in the final. It was later shortlisted for the Dundee International Literary Prize in 2012. He lives in Chester.
Thank you to Neverland Blog Tours and the author for the review copy of this book.