Set in Queensland during a time of tremendous social upheaval, Riptides is a gripping family drama about dreams, choices and consequences, from the author of the acclaimed Half Moon Lake.
One bad decision can tear your world apart . . .
December 1974. Abby Campbell and her brother Charlie are driving to their father’s farm on a dark country road when they swerve into the path of another car, forcing it into a tree. The pregnant driver is killed instantly.
The siblings drag her body from the car, arguing about what to do. Abby says if they get help immediately, the baby inside this woman could still survive. Charlie wants to get out of there. During this exchange they notice a piece of jewellery on the young woman that they’ve seen before…
In the heat of the moment, Abby and Charlie make a fateful decision. They flee, hoping heavy rain will erase the fact they were there. They both have too much to lose. But they have no idea who they’ve just killed or how many lives will be affected by her death. They soon learn that she was in fact connected to them…
They are caught in a web of lies and soon the truth is like a riptide they can’t escape. The police aren’t convinced that the woman’s death was an accident and Abby and Charlie’s father becomes a suspect. The siblings are in deep as their terrible secret pulls them further down each day.
Riptides is a stunning achievement. This riveting page-turner is beautifully written. The opening chapter is disturbing and reels you in – there is no slow opening or setting the scene with Kirsten Alexander. It opens with the crash, and the decision the siblings make that will have a ripple effect on their lives, and the lives of those around them. It’s an excellent way to build tension immediately, and put the reader right in the thick of how quickly Abby and Charlie had to decide what to do. Of course, we’d do it differently, but you really experience their panic just from the way the opening is written.
Set in 1970s Queensland, it’s a step back in time for the reader, and the sense of place pervades the page and adds to the tension. It’s a multi-layered story, with police corruption in the Bjelke-Peterson era, an attempted kidnapping, some black humour and a cast of complex characters. But at its heart it’s a family drama. Told from both Charlie and Abby’s perspective, through alternating chapters, we witness the aftermath of ‘the event’ on each sibling. Abby, a mother, struggles with the choice they made. Charlie returns to his life in Bali.
Riptides is Kirstin Alexander’s second novel and with it she has truly arrived. I highly recommend Riptides and can’t wait to see what Alexander delivers next.