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The Salt Marsh by Clare Carson

Last September I had the pleasure of reviewing Clare Carson’s first novel Orkney Twilight in which rebellious teenager Sam is first drawn in to her father’s world of undercover agents and family secrets. 

In the gripping follow up, The Salt Marsh, Sam is now an adult and struggling to move on from her father’s death. Mysterious visitors possibly linked to her father pop up unannounced and when her boyfriend disappears she finds herself on a wild goose chase from the shady nightclubs of Soho to the desolate marshes of Norfolk and Kent. 

Caught up in a world of spies and secrets, Sam becomes embroiled in a conspiracy involving drugs, smuggling, and murder. As Sam continues to work through her father’s demise, lots of memories of their shared past bubble to the surface and as she gets deeper into the shadowy world her father inhabited she finds it hard to work out who to trust and what is the truth. 

As much as I enjoyed Orkney Twilight, I think I enjoyed The Salt Marsh even more as Sam really comes into her own as a character. She has a lot to deal with, and with not much support from her immediate family, she’s almost alone in such a dishonest environment. The marshes were a perfect for setting for a lot of the action; dismal and treacherous, it really suited the gritty parts of the storyline and adds to Sam’s endeavour. I found I was transported to the marshes as I read from the detailed descriptions which kept me absorbed in the story. 

The first book had a bit of a mythology theme running through it. This book had an alchemy, witchcraft slant to it with some unique historical, folklore references throughout which made the story interesting and memorable. On top of the crime and mystery, there was also some science too which all added to the overall story. 

I don’t think you need to have read Orkney Twilight to enjoy this novel as everything is explained but I would still recommend it as you will have a better sense of Sam and the history with her father which is a bit part of who she is as a person and the circumstances she faces in The Salt Marsh

With mystery and intrigue at every turn with well defined characters and suited settings, The Salt Marsh is an original and enthralling crime thriller.


I’m happy to be part of the blog tour for this novel and I have an extract of The Salt Marsh for you to try. See The Salt Marsh blog tour post for the extract.

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Monday 1 May 1978
Jim did his vanishing act the day of the spring fair. Sam was sitting in her room reading, the last of the apple blossom drifting past her window, Jim and the dog downstairs, her mother Liz and her sisters visiting the new baby of one of Liz’s old friends. Liz often went out on the days that Jim was at home. Her mother’s departure had been preceded by an argument. Sam had half heard Liz shouting, Jim shouting back, but hadn’t taken much notice because she had her head stuck in a book and, anyway, they always argued these days. Liz laughed, and that did catch Sam’s attention because there was something manic about the cackle. She clocked Liz yelling, ‘So if I want to know where you are, I’m supposed to call the fucking Home Secretary, am I?’ The front door crunched. Sam was glad to hide in her room, curled up on her beanbag with her book. As she read, s…