Thursday, 26 March 2020

Book Review: Riptides by Kirsten Alexander

Kirsten Alexander

Publisher:  Penguin Random House
Imprint: Bantam
Publication date: 4th February 2020
Genre: Contemporary Fiction / Crime
Pages: 352
RRP: $32.99 AUD
Format read: Uncorrected ARC
Source: Courtesy of the publisher

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.
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. Soon the truth is like a riptide they can’t escape, as their terrible secret pulls them down deeper by the day.


Alexander explores how a moment in time, a decision taken, can alter the lives of many, having a rolling effect.

Abby and Charlie’s decision to leave a woman dead on the side of the road after an accident they caused has far reaching effects. The two siblings grapple with the conscience, come to terms with and try to justify what they have done.

Told by dual narrators we get both Abigail and Charlie’s point of view. Neither character is totally likeable, which is understandable considering what they have just done, but Charlie had my anger rising as he displayed a total lack of remorse.

Set in the mid 70’s Alexander uses real events to place the story solidly in it’s time frame.

The story gripped me from the very first page and as the dead woman weaved her way into their lives again and again I was eager to learn how this was going to end. Likeable or not the engaging cast of characters were easy to connect with and give for some compelling reading.

Love, trauma, family, responsibility, a hippy commune and police corruption all combine to make this book un-put-downable.
My  rating  5/5

photo credit: Lee Sandwith

Kirsten was born in San Francisco, raised in Brisbane, and lives in Melbourne with her partner, two boys and two dogs. Her first novel was Half Moon Lake; this is her second.


This review is part of the Book Lover Book Review Aussie Author Challenge 
and the Australian Women Writers challenge


  1. I agree this was a great read. Thanks for sharing your thoughts

  2. Oooh, this one sounds so compelling - and reminds me of that Black Mirror episode that had a similar premise?