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The Drowning Ground: A Novel by James…
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The Drowning Ground: A Novel

by James Marrison

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Entertaining, but oddly constructed - part of the book is told by Downes in the first person, part is third person with Graves as the subject. I don’t know why the author did this or the editor let it go by, but it was a bit strange and every change was jarring. And the prologue didn’t need to be one; it could have been incorporated into the story very easily. There is a lot of detail that didn’t need to be there either, and some awkward sentences here and there.

But it is a first novel and an entertaining one if easy to solve for the veteran mystery reader. I liked Downes and his dark past. He was relatable; tortured, but not overly so. I was surprised that he didn’t come in for more grief about being a foreigner. I was also pleased that the author didn’t spill his entire back story in this book, instead leaving us with only part of it. I can only assume he has more Downes books planned. ( )
  Bookmarque | Oct 1, 2016 |
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Book description
For two decades after being forced to leave his native Argentina, Detective Chief Inspector Guillermo Downes has sought tranquility in the orderly life of the English Cotswolds. But violence can strike just as suddenly in the countryside as it can in Buenos Aires.

When the body of wealthy landowner Frank Hurst is found with a pitchfork through is neck, it brings back disturbing memories of former mysteries. Hurst's wife drowned in their swimming pool - an official accident, though many villagers have their doubts. And what about the two young girls who were abducted years before, with some possible links to Hurst that were never proven?

"It's something truly terrible to make someone disappear," Downs tells his partner. "Because the family never know, you see." Years ago he had promised the vanished girls' mothers to find their daughters, and as the ripples from Hurst's death spread through the village, there is fresh hope that he might finally make good on that promise, no matter what it costs the community or himself.
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"Chief Inspector Guillermo Downes is a long way from his native home of Argentina, heading up the police department in the English Cotswolds. But he isn't far enough to escape the memories of his past, or to lose the baggage he carries from the loss of someone close to him. So when a young girl, Gail, disappears--the second girl in the span of two weeks to go missing--Downes makes a promise to the child's mother to find her no matter what it takes. Ten years later, that promise remains unfulfilled. And though the girls are never far from his thoughts, the job goes on. The body of a local man, Frank Hurst, has just been found dead, sprawled on a hill in town. Frank Hurst also had a past. His second wife drowned in their swimming pool and his daughter, Rebecca, left home soon after. Downes remembers the case well. And although many in the town think Frank murdered his wife, his alibi was confirmed. Still, it now seems that there might be a connection between Frank and the missing girls, which might give Chief Inspector Downes another chance to make good on the promise he made all those years ago. With the kind of insights into life in a seemingly peaceful village that made Broadchurch so powerful, James Marrison's The Vanishing Land introduces a terrific new voice in crime fiction"--… (more)

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