Book Club: The Lost Swimmer

Author: Ann Turner
ISBN: 978-19-250-3086-0
RRP: $29.99

The Lost Swimmer is the debut novel of Australian author Ann Turner, who is also an award-winning screenwriter and director.

Rebecca Wilding is an archeology professor and head of her department at Coastal University. The economic climate is affecting everyone and it seems no-one’s job is secure. Rebecca is having issues with the Dean of Arts, Priscilla, but she is not the only one; it seems all the department Heads are having issues with her.

Something isn’t quite right at home either, Rebecca is certain her husband is having an affair. She may not have proof but she knows him well enough to know that he’s hiding something.

If this isn’t enough to deal with Rebecca also finds herself accused of serious fraud.

Rebecca and Stephen both have conference commitments overseas in the semester break so have made it into a holiday in which Rebecca hopes they can reconnect.

Turner explores the slippery slope we find ourselves on when trust is compromised and secrets are kept. It has often been said that those who mistrust are often the ones with something to hide… so if Rebecca is so determined that something is going on with Stephen, even though she has no proof, what does that say about what’s going on with her?

There was a lot going on in The Lost Swimmer so there were lots of different threads and possibilities. My mind was ticking the entire time I was reading, trying to work out how it all ties together and if it’s all a part of the same larger issue.

The Wildings live on the coast of Victoria and the entire family are lovers of the sea, except that Rebecca doesn’t swim for reasons that will be uncovered in due time. Stephen on the other hand is a strong swimmer.

Their holiday is planned to take them through lots of the places they have loved as a couple and a family as well as places that Rebecca has worked. Now that their children are grown Rebecca can take Stephen to the digs she has worked through the years and introduce him to colleagues that he never had the chance to meet. It’s also a bonus that they will be near the location the fraud allegations stem from so Rebecca plans to do some investigating of her own.

The scenery and locations that Turner has chosen are divine. They are atmospheric, picturesque and gorgeously described. I have never traveled, and never really been bitten by the travel bug, but to see the Amalfi coast and the history of Greece through Turner’s eyes had me longing for blue skies and bluer seas. Her love of history shines through in Rebecca’s passion for the past.

It is a sad situation if, when life spirals out of control, you can’t turn to the one you promised yourself to for life. At first you simply don’t mention it because there’s other stuff going on, that I can understand. But then to actively try and keep it from the one you love? Not quite so understandable. The lies stack up, the hole gets deeper and you just lose the ability to claw yourself out. It’s even worse when both partners in a marriage are caught up in their own web of deceit, where does it end and is there any way of coming back from that?

the lost swimmer

I found the book to be compelling reading but it wasn’t fast paced, there was a lot going on and it unfolded slowly. Stephen didn’t disappear until halfway through the story but there were enough other threads to keep us going.

I’m not really touching on the characterisation in the novel because I’m not quite sure how I feel about the characters at the moment. Their behaviours needed to be as they were for the story to flow the way it did but I can’t decide how I feel about them.

The Lost Swimmer had some predictability but there were a lot of things I just didn’t see coming, and even now I am left with questions because the end was not what I expected.

The Lost Swimmer is a captivating debut filled with suspense, where everything and everyone become suspicious. It will definitely get you thinking, and I am finding that it doesn’t end when you close the book.

The Lost Swimmer is available now from Simon & Schuster and where all good books are sold.

You can find Ann Turner on her Website and Facebook.

The Lost Swimmer is Book #32 for the Australian Women Writer’s Challenge 2015.

20 of our lucky readers are also reading The Lost Swimmer and their reviews will appear below in the comments. Please be advised that there may be spoilers.

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