Friday, 23 December 2011

Book Review - The Drowning Pool by Syd Moore

Just about to start typing and thought "Shit last time I did a review the flipping author popped up and made a comment. Therefore conscious of the litigious world we live in I ought to mind my p's and q's!"

I bought this book on a bit of a whim.  Piley and Mondo have a Tuesday night radio show these days (they no longer comment on here or talk to me now they are famous you know :-() and Syd was a guest on there a few episodes back.  Anyway due to that I looked out this book, which I believe is her first novel.  It was only 99p for the Kindle edition so given that was a third of what I pay for The Big Issue now and half the price of a skinny latte in Pret a Manger I thought what have you got to lose and in seconds it was on my kindle in my Tor Be Read collection.

The Drowning Pool is a modern ghost story set in the Essex seaside town of Leigh-on-Sea.  Sorry did I just say a ghost story in Leigh?  Yep that is what I thought too, surely ghost stories need to be set in isolated mansions in the highlands or something.  The whole thing is written in the first person as the personal account of the events that happen to Sarah Grey who has moved to Leigh with her young son after the tragic death of her husband.  She has a group of very close friends who unwittingly on a summer night hold a sort of seance that starts a series of hauntings of Sarah that leads her to investigate the death of a lady with exactly the same name as her some 150 odd years before.

It is a brilliant story in which the various characters in the modern day life of Sarah end up completely intertwined with the historical characters in the 19th century and the ending is somewhat cataclysmic and not what I was expecting at the start at all.

The one observation I have to make is that the modern day characters live in a world of alcohol and drug filled fun - the use of "recreational" drugs is talked about.   I know this is for many very much the reality of modern life - however for me I never got how any drug was "recreational".  My drinking was rarely if ever fun.  This isn't a criticism of the book at all, in fact it was truly enlightening of Syd to open this world a little to me. It only relates to me reading about characters in a world I simply cannot inhabit ; the "Oh I get drunk once in a blue moon at a friends gathering" and "I'll smoke pot when it is offered to me"... bizarre people what's the point in that!  Chemically induced oblivion only has any point if it is pretty much a constant situation for me... A small insight for me into the "real" world.  My wife has had a few "girls" nights out as we approach Christmas where she has the rare few glasses of wine or Southern Comfort., me I avoid the Christmas party at work and go to a Step meeting in an Age Concern building in Canterbury...  I am lucky that my wife has never really been a big social drinker... although that could be as a result of watching me slowly drowning myself towards death with booze - if she'd had the good fortune to marry a normal guy she might have a better relationship with alcohol herself... 'tis a family illness as they say.

Sorry - back to book.  Excellent read with a Furtheron double thumbs up.


  1. Now 'The Drowning Pool' can only be Dirty Harry...soz option here!!!...;-)'Dead Pool'...oh bugger it...close enough!

    Merry Christmas old bean!!!!

  2. Good work - F-Ron, I'll swap you for my review..have a rocking one matey

  3. Hello Furtheron, thanks for doing that. Really appreciate it. So damn pleased you liked the book. The booze has been commented on quite a bit by other people too. The new one, which was called Afterlife but I think might now be chaning to The Witch Finder, has far less boozing in it. Though, to be honest, the main character is pissed in the first scene but there is a very good reason for that. I can't tell you what as it's a spoiler but hopefully you'll see why its there. But why I am I writing this when I am actually about to pop up and look through your window like the last reviewed author. Just about to ring your bell now...
    Seriously - double thumbs up back - thank you. x

  4. I just typed up a really long comment thanking you, Furtheron. It's Syd here. For some reason the comment box went blank and lost all the script - egad - you have a ghost in the machine. Anyway thanks for the lovely review. You're right about the boozing. There is too much of it in it. My Dad is very concerned. I think it's more of a writing technique than a health problem (though some would disagree!) as it enables the characters to 'slip up' and drop clues or reveal (half) truths. But, to be honest, that's all about it the book being a debut and the fact I have to try harder with the plot in future - 'could do better'. So, what I'm saying is, thanks for your feedback and these kind of reviews are really helpful to me. A kind of public CPD. Have to say though, the next book (which was called Afterlife but which I think is now changing to The Witch Finder) opens with a scene in which the character is pissed. But there's a reason for it which I can't tell you at present as it's a spoiler. But do let me know what you think when you get to it. Though why I'm typing this to you I really don't know, I'm about to pop up like the last author. Just ringing your bell now...