Sunday, May 26, 2024


Middletide by Sarah Crouch
6/11/24; 288 pages

Middletide by Sarah Crouch is an atmospheric literary murder mystery and a story of love lost and found. This debut novel is highly recommended 

In the small Puget Sound town of Point Orchards the body of Dr. Erin Landry is found on the property of Elijah Leith. He grew up there, left to become a writer, and after thirteen years he recently returned to live in his deceased father's cabin. Elijah's one book was published and was an abysmal failure after being panned from one critic. Now he is fixing up the cabin, trying to live off the land, and hoping to reconnect with Nakita, his first love.

When Sheriff Jim Godbout’s investigates Erin's death, it initially appears to be a suicide, but suspicions arise that point to murder. Then one of the few published copies of Elijah's book is sent anonymously to the Sheriff's department. The murder in the book seems to match Erin's death. It appears someone is trying to frame Elijah for murder. The question is who would perpetrate this and what would be their motive.

The descriptive writing is quite extraordinary in this debut literary novel that follows a trail of love, loss, and revenge. The setting is the star of the novel and comes to life. Elijah's struggles to build a life for himself and living off the land after his writing failure is interesting, as is the lost love story line. The murder mystery is also intriguing, but the investigation seems inept at times.

A few details in the plot do require some suspension of disbelief, but I found it easy to do so while focusing on the strengths of the writing. The events in Middletide span dates from 1973 to 1994. The dates are clearly given at the opening of each chapter so readers can keep the time period in mind, although the moving between time periods was a bit too frequent. I'll be looking forward to Crouch's next novel. Thanks to Atria for providing me with an advance reader's copy via Edelweiss. My review is voluntary and expresses my honest opinion.

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