Book Review, Thriller

Undertow by Elizabeth Heathcote


Synopsis from

“My husband’s lover. They said her death was a tragic accident. And I believed them . . . until now.

Carmen is happily married to Tom, a successful London lawyer and divorcé with three children. She is content to absorb the stresses of being a stepmother to teenagers and the stain of ‘second wife’. She knows she’ll always live in the shadow of another woman – not Tom’s first wife Laura, who is resolutely polite and determinedly respectable, but the lover that ended his first marriage: Zena. Zena who was shockingly beautiful. Zena who drowned swimming late one night.

But Carmen can overlook her husband’s dead mistress . . . until she starts to suspect that he might have been the person who killed her.”


After the success of books like Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train, everyone is jumping onto the mystery novel bandwagon, and that pretty much sums up this book.

I love mystery and thriller novels. A well written one can be so gripping and addictive that you can polish it off in a day or two. This isn’t one of them. Undertow follows the formula that every mystery novel seems to have now-a-days. An educated, middle class main character with a haunting past, an unhealthy marriage, a partner that has a lot of secrets and of course, a mysterious death that is somehow linked to their unhealthy marriage. The only problem with Undertow is that it does not make you care about any of the characters and the mystery isn’t deep enough to put you on the edge of your seat trying to guess who did it. Even when the big reveal at the end happens you are left thinking “Oh…ok” instead of the usual gasp of surprise you let out at the end of a mystery novel.

Saying all that though, this book isn’t awful. I have actually read worse Gillian Flynn books. This is the sort of book I would recommend if you want an easy read for a long plane ride or if you simply wanted another book to fill that mystery novel hole in your life after reading all of the best selling ones. It isn’t terrible, it is simply ok. It isn’t gripping but it isn’t quit-after-5-chapters either. To sum it up it is alright. I think if the book was longer or the characters and their relationships were fleshed out a little better it would have been brilliant.


I gave this book 2 out of 5 stars on If you are looking for a quick new mystery novel to read pick this one up. I enjoyed the ideas in it but I wont be in a hurry to read it again as it left no real impact on me.

Also, what is with all of these unhealthy marriages in modern mystery novels?

As always feel free to follow me on GoodReads and if you have read Undertow let me know what you thought of it below.

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