A Holiday Turns Deadly in Chris Ewan’s ‘Dark Tides’ [REVIEW]


On the shores of the Isle of Man, a night of fun turns into a deadly game that will change the lives of six friends forever in Chris Ewan’s Dark Tides. (Photo by dave_dubyuh, Flickr)

October 31 is Halloween in many parts of the world. But on the fog shrouded Isle of Man, another tradition is commemorated each year on that date: an old Celtic festival known as Hop-tu-Naa, complete with illuminated turnips, Manx Gaelic songs, and, at least in Chris Ewan’s Dark Tides, murder.

Chris Ewan's DARK TIDES

Minotaur Books

As a child, Hop-tu-Naa was all fun and games for Claire Cooper. But when she was eight years old, her mother vanished without a trace on that very night. Unsure whether her mom is dead or alive, Claire feels all alone in the world until five teenagers befriend her and change the course of her life forever.

Each year, the friends celebrate Hop-tu-Naa by challenging each other with a dare. At first, the dares are fun and lighthearted, but gradually, they take a dangerous turn until something goes horribly wrong, results in violence, and ultimately tears the friends apart.

Six years go by before Claire encounters her friends again. By this time, she has abandoned her childhood dreams and has become a police officer instead. When one of her friends is killed on Hop-tu-Naa, Claire is the officer on the scene, and a mysterious clue turns her world on its head. Each year that follows results in another dead friend, and it is up to her to discover who is behind the deaths before she becomes a victim herself.

This is the first Chris Ewan book I’ve read, and it will not be the last. If you love British authors, you’re going to fall under Ewan’s spell as he invites us into a world that is unfamiliar, terrifying, and yet strangely alluring.

Ewan has a real knack for creating characters who live and breathe, who elicit our compassion and invoke our deepest fears. But he is just as adept at creating settings that captivate us and make us want to explore them. He definitely does this with the Isle of Man, peppering his story with enough sensory detail that we feel as if we have journeyed there without leaving our armchair.

Dark Tides is one of those rare, delicious novels that coils itself around you gently, making us feel comfortable and safe, only to tighten its hold as it wraps around our throats, taking us prisoner and leaving us gasping for breath. Don’t miss this book. Chris Ewan is an author to watch!

Chris Ewan

Chris Ewan
(Photo by Phil Kneen)


Chris Ewan is the critically acclaimed bestselling author of thrillers like Dark TidesDead LineSafe House, and The Good Thief’s Guide to… series of mysteries. His work has been praised as “truly compelling” (Daily Express), “outstanding” (US Publishers Weekly), and “popular fiction at its best” (The Spectator). In 2011, he was voted one of America’s favorite British authors in a Huffington Post poll.

His first standalone thriller, Safe House, was a number one bestseller in the UK and was shortlisted for the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award. His most recent thriller, Long Time Lost, will be published by Minotaur Books in February 2017.

Born in Taunton in 1976, Ewan graduated from the University of Nottingham with a degree in American Studies and a minor in Canadian Literature before he later trained as a lawyer. After living on the Isle of Man for 11 years, he recently moved back to Somerset with his wife, daughter, and the family dog. Visit Chris at his home on the Web, like him on Facebook and follow him on Twitter.

By Chris Ewan
448 pgs. Minotaur Books. $25.99

[BBC News]

About Jathan Fink
Jathan is a journalist, philanthropist, and entrepreneur. He is also a travel junkie, foodie and jazz aficionado. A California native, he resides in Texas.

One Response to A Holiday Turns Deadly in Chris Ewan’s ‘Dark Tides’ [REVIEW]

  1. Pingback: Secrets Abound in Emily Arsenault’s ‘The Last Thing I Told You’ [REVIEW] | Jathan & Heather

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