The Drowning – Rachel Ward

“‘Stop. We need to stop. That’s it, everyone – we’ve done our best. I’m calling it. It’s four seventeen.’
I open my eyes. A raindrop hits my left eye, dead centre. O shut both eyes quickly. Careful now, I squint out. The rain keeps coming. Water bombs dropping out of a grey sky. There’s stuff in my mouth. Mud. Gravel. 
I turn my head and spit. 
There’s a face a metre from mine. Hair plastered on to his forehead in glistening snakes. Mouth, thin lips slightly apart, a trickle of water spilling out of the corner. Pale skin, streaked with mud. Eyes, closed, stunted eyelashes forming two stubby lines. 
It’s my face.”

When Carl wakes up on the bank of the lake and the first thing he sees is his brother, the first thing he hears is the paramedics calling his brothers time of death, the first thing he thinks is that he has to be next. 
But he’s not. He is placed in an ambulance and the girls that the paramedics were also helping is sat shivering near him… but when she turns to him all she can do is scream. 
Carl doesn’t understand what has happened, the accident has caused severe memory loss and he can’t even remember who his own mother is. All he knows is that he must find out what happened to his brother, the girl and himself that day, before the truth comes back to drown him. 

***
Wow, I was a massive fan of Rachel Ward when I had only read two of her previous books – Numbers 1 and Numbers 2 – however now I have read The Drowning I think I love her more, with her ability to suck you in and refuse to let you move until you know the entire story, her books are a like a vortex – and I mean that in the best possible way. 
The story was mesmerising. You know from the start that Rob is dead and Carl can’t remember a thing, but you don’t know about Neisha straight away, she comes in after a little while. You know that the brothers didn’t have a great upbringing and that their mother is a bit of a drinker. You know that Carl starts to remember little bits here and there and soon he starts to blame himself, especially once he starts seeing and hearing his brother around his home and the estate. 
His brother was an immense character, filling up every page with his presence, Rob was incredible. The way the character linked into the water was just incredible and I came to fear every drop of water on the page. I loved how that part of the story built up slowly and just kept getting bigger. There was a lot to the story and I loved that the water acted as a kind of metaphor for the grief that Carl was going through. 
The way the story unfolded was really cleaver and there were little hints and stuff that made me think a lot about where the story was going. I loved the ending, absolutely loved it, but I won’t talk about that here as I don’t want to spoil things. I honestly can’t get enough of the idea of the book and think it was just incredibly well plotted. It was a little short and the pace was quite fast but I expected that kinda from Numbers so I didn’t mind at all. 

My one and only niggle with this book doesn’t come from the writing or the story, it comes from the cover. As I started reading the book I expected Neisha to be the girl on the cover, however it soon becomes apparent that she of mixed ethnic origin and yet the girl on the cover looks very white british to me… it kinda bugged me a bit and I would have preferred for the cover to reflect the character within the book better. 
I would definitely recommend The Drowning, its a little creepy in places and there are a fair few swears so maybe it would be better for the older reader, but if you like that sort of thing you will definitely love this. 
The Drowning was published on May 2nd by Chicken House. My copy was sent to me form the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Please visit the blog tomorrow for my stop on the Rachel Ward blog tour.

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