Bay of Fires by Poppy Gee is a 371 (Paperback) murder mystery that had me interested from the very first pages. The pace is wonderful, not too fast and not too slow. You aren’t given glaring evidence after glaring evidence, but rather learn as the characters do. The characters make the story and not the mystery, but you can’t help but wonder about all the lives and how they all connect to the events unfolding. You follow Sarah or Hall throughout the story in 3rd person. Gee’s writing style is a breeze. You don’t even notice it being a thing while reading the story. That’s the way it should be. The story itself should be up front and center, not the writing style or tone or POV or anything.
Sarah has come back home after ruining her life. A year earlier a girl disappeared and now Hall has come to Sarah’s hometown because a body has washed up on shore, a body Sarah found.
Sarah wanting to get away from her own mistakes puts herself into helping with the murder. She gets close to Hall, the reporter, for all the reasons she’s not sure of. Hall let’s her because he’s used to the company of strangers as he travels for his job. Hall pieces together the mystery surrounding the disappearance and the murder with the help of Sarah who grew up in that small town.
Together they will question the townspeople, uncover secrets decades old, learn about love and life. Bay of Fires is real. The story of the murdered girls doesn’t overshadow the reality of who people are, what they are capable of, no matter who they are. Sarah is a complex character and Hall is a simple one. They compliment each other well and even though you as a reader come to learn things about the two main characters, they themselves don’t always find out everything about the other.
I didn’t fall in love with the writing, the characters, the town, or even the story. None of those things on it’s own were brilliant enough to carry everything else like you find in most novels. However, all of them together brought something unique and palpable to the table.
After everything you were weren’t left with complete satisfaction because life doesn’t bring you complete satisfaction. Gee did a wonderful job with comparing story to life and character to reason. Actions matter, words matter and in Bay of Fires the actions and the words of each and every character added a depth to the whole picture that made reading the novel absolutely worth it. I would recommend this story to any murder/suspense/mystery reader. For anybody who’s tired of formulated plots and predictable endings.