I received this book for free from Allen & Unwin Australia in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Written by Brigid Kemmerer
Published January, 2016 by Allen & Unwin
Provided by: Allen & Unwin Australia
Genres: Mystery, Psychics
Purchase: The Book Depository | Bookworld | Booktopia
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Thomas Bellweather hasn’t been in town long. Just long enough for his newlywed mother to be murdered, and for his new stepdad’s cop colleagues to decide Thomas is the primary suspect.
Not that there’s any evidence. But before Thomas got to Garretts Mill there had just been one other murder in twenty years.
The only person who believes him is Charlotte Rooker, little sister to three cops and, with her soft hands and sweet curves, straight-up dangerous to Thomas. Her best friend was the other murder vic. And she’d like a couple answers.
Answers that could get them both killed, and reveal a truth Thomas would die to keep hidden…
This isn’t my first Brigid Kemmerer book, nor will it be the last. I don’t know what I love most about her work – the quick-witted dialogue, the fast-paced plots or her incredibly realistic male voices. Thicker Than Water incorporated all my favourite aspects of Brigid’s writing and turned them into a fantastic and thrilling mystery story.
“Loneliness is a funny disease. You don’t realize how badly you’re infected until someone gives you a shot of contentment—and then it wears off.”
Initially, I didn’t warm up to our lead, Thomas. He was sullen, unlikeable and did all the wrong things when it came to dealing with his grief. What I did enjoy about him, however, was the emotion (however bottled-up) that he possessed right off the bat. I can’t stress this enough – Brigid Kemmerer can write guys. So often I find myself reading YA male leads written by women and it just never FEELS RIGHT. Thomas is aggressive, rash and although he hides his sensitivity, he’s got that, too. His chapters, and how they are narrated, are completely different to the way Charlotte’s are written. That’s what I’m looking for when reading dual gender POV’s.
Charlotte, on the other hand, was completely lovable from the moment she stepped into Thomas’s life. She was the perfect mix of strength and femininity, and had no apologies when it came to embracing the things she loved doing or how she cared about those she loves. Gourmet sandwiches she spent all morning concocting after scouring Pinterest? Adorable. A berry pie she cooked lovingly with her mother delivered carefully in cling-film? No trouble. This girl was so sweet, but never came across as weak. I’m so tired of characters rejecting female ‘stereotypes’ to get across a message of feminism. Hey, some of us actually do like cooking for people and showing we care that way. It doesn’t mean we’re trapped and unhappy.
“He sounds disappointed. I spent hours preparing something that would taste good, look amazing, and still not make him think I was trying to impress him, and he’s disappointed that it’s not frigging McDonald’s.”
Although Charlotte could bake the day away, she also had an incredibly mean right hook. Raised in a ‘cop family’ (her father and three brothers were all involved in law enforcement) she had self-defence and preservation down pat. She also had an incredibly protective family when it came to the suspected murderer Thomas she couldn’t seem to stay away from. Her mother was also super-obsessed with making sure her diabetes was always in check.
The plot and the mystery of Thicker Than Water was completely engaging. I started this one this morning and was able to finish it quite quickly. Things moved along quite seamlessly and were never slow… enough hints were being dropped that I never felt as if we were getting nowhere. Charlotte and Thomas’s relationship also developed well, which was a plus.
“But dreams always mean something to the dreamer. It’s just a matter of figuring out what.”
If I had one problem with the story, it would have to be the ‘paranormal’ element that came into it somewhere around the 80% mark. It reads like a basic mystery/thriller YA novel for the majority, but then starts slipping somewhere with the introduction of a new character. Things were a little shaky after that and I had a tough time wrapping my head around the explanation for everything that had occurred.
I’m not satisfied with the ending, either. I think things could have been wrapped up a little nicer, especially seeing that this one isn’t a series (as of yet) on Goodreads. I’m not at ease with how easily everything was explained away, considering how hell-bent the local law enforcement was with Thomas’s involvement in his mother’s murder.
All in all, like all Brigid Kemmerer’s books, it’s a solid read. I would have preferred it without the paranormal, but I still thought it was a complete page turner. There were some SERIOUSLY funny scenes and the dialogue was whip-smart and intelligent. I had a few laugh out loud moments, which don’t come easily to me while reading. I won’t be forgetting these characters for a while.