Running Against The Tide is the second novel from Sydney-based writer, Amanda Ortlepp (Claiming Noah). It’s also an intense mystery that stars a strong woman named Erin Travers. She is a lady that has packed up her life and two teenage sons into a car and travelled from NSW to the Eyre Peninsula in South Australia in order to leave an abusive relationship. It’s a relevant and timely story that offers some real food for thought in our contemporary society where prejudice is common and domestic violence figures are high.
Ortlepp has done an excellent job of creating a complex story that is almost like an onion. It’s a slow and nuanced tale that reveals Travers’ narrative little-by-little as well as the troubling events that occur in the small and sleepy close-knit town of Mallee Bay, which is known for its oyster farming. Ortlepp writes well and offers very descriptive prose and rich characterisation of the Travers family and their neighbours, Jono and Helen. But while there is some darkness and drama to the story, there are some points where it is a little too slowly paced to retain the reader’s attention and the ending was far too rushed.
Running Against The Tide is a realistic book that will have readers wanting to know what actually happened and who’s responsible for some troubling events in the town (like arson and theft). It’s a story that will keep you on your toes and leave you guessing as prejudices and fractured relationships are the order of the day. It also means the reader’s own prejudices will colour their view and interpretation of this Aussie whodunit. Clever stuff.
***Please note: a free copy of this book was given to the writer through a Beauty & Lace giveaway. To read the original review on that website please visit: http://bookgirl.beautyandlace.net/book-club-running-against-the-tide