Last night, I finished reading Elizabeth Haynes’ Dark Tide and loved it. The story circles around Genevieve, a woman who used to dance for money in order to achieve her dream of buying a boat and fixing it up for a year. The novel starts after she’s already been living on the boat for a few months, after she’s tried to leave her past behind her. After a boat warming party Genevieve’s past comes back to haunt her when she finds a body floating by her boat (dun, dun, dunnnnnn…).
I read Haynes’ debut novel, Into the Darkest Corner, last year and completely fell in love with her style of writing. It’s gripping and honest. Although some of the topics discussed in both novels are difficult, Haynes doesn’t walk on eggshells around them. She presents the events in an honest manner and allows the reader to decide what she or he will make of them.
Haynes does the same thing with her characters. It’s so easy to present the protagonist as great people and the antagonists as evil villains and give them qualities to match. I’ve read so many novels that do exactly that and it gets boring after a while. As the reader, the decision of which characters you should like and which characters you should hate is already made for you. Haynes doesn’t do that; she presents her characters and their qualities honestly and it’s up to the reader to decide which characters they want to trust. This definitely also makes for a better set up to a thriller (which both novels are).
Haynes’ honest style of writing goes beyond the way she presents her characters; she also presents situations with no judgment. In Dark Tide, the main character works as a stripper (or exotic dancer, if you prefer that term) and although this job is usually seen as grimy and demeaning, Haynes doesn’t present it as such. She presents dancing as a job as regular as picking up phones at a dentist’s office; it’s got its good sides and its bad sides, but in the end it’s a job that pays the bills.
I won’t compare Haynes’ two novels because they’re so different and so a comparison wouldn’t be fair. I will say this: Haynes has proven that she’s got a lot to offer. I can’t wait to read what Haynes comes out with next.
In the meantime, grab a copy of Dark Tide and, as always, happy reading! 🙂