A new Aussie voice

The Lost Swimmer – Ann Turner
Expected publication: June 1st 2015 by Simon & Schuster AU

Rebecca Wilding is in the prime of her life where everything should be perfect, she has a great job, wonderful husband, adult kids and the perfect beach house. Yet slowly everything begins to unravel, the university she works at is facing cutbacks, she is at loggerheads with the dean, she faces allegations of fraud and the possibility her husband is having an affair.

Travelling from Australia to Europe for work Rebecca and her husband Stephen try to reconnect but deception and paranoia weighs the marriage down.

The book is part mystery and part dissection of relationships. Turner creates a rich tapestry of characters that are flawed, vivid settings and powerful prose. It is easy to lose yourself in this book as you try to determine where the guilt lies.

As a reader I found Rebecca a frustrating character, there were several times I wanted to scream at her and that was good. She made mistakes, she took the wrong turn, made a poor judgement and was fixated on the wrong things. I liked her imperfections.

I want to write more but I do not want to give away anything as a reader this is the kind of book where you need to follow and appreciate the unravelling of the mystery. You do not want people giving away endings. There is twists, turns and red herrings to keep your interest in the book. I really liked that there are loose ends and an open ending to some elements as it is more reflective of life. If you want a nice neat package of an ending this is not for you but I liked it, as we cannot know all the reasons.

This is a strong debut novel and I am sure it will become a book club favourite as there is plenty to debate.