Sea State by J.M. Simpson

Published: March 3, 2022

J.M. Simpson

Pages: 448

Genre: Suspense/ Thriller

KKECReads Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I received a copy of this book for free, and I leave my review voluntarily.

J.M. Simpson, or Jo, was originally born in Essex; Jo was predominantly raised in the West Country, enjoying childhood in Devon and Cornwall, never far from a rugged coastline, sandy beach, or harbour. Jo currently lives in Kent, with her two (occasionally stroppy) teenage daughters, her incredibly long-suffering husband, and her two writing partners, Max (who features as Brock in the series) and Merlin, both rescue Border Collie’s.

Sinister undercurrents at are work in the seaside town Castleby. A young boy goes missing and another dies in suspicious circumstances.

Jesse Stevens believes she is safe after escaping from a madwoman who tried to kill her. But soon her worst nightmare returns. Her ex-partner has escaped from prison and is hunting her. She believes he will find her and kill her this time.

Ex-special forces soldier Rob Fox (Foxy) moves to Castleby to live a quiet life, cope with his grief and forget his past. He becomes friends with Sophie Jones who has returned to Castleby to look after her father, while she desperately waits for news about her soldier husband, who is missing in action. Sophie is unexpectedly attacked, unearthing a twenty-year-old unsolved murder.

Two local thieves steal from the local mafioso and pay the ultimate price, leaving the police with a rising body count and a missing boy to find.

“Time to decide.”

Jesse finally feels like she can start to let go of her past trauma. Things with Doug are going well, she’s thriving at work, and she feels like she belongs. Meanwhile, Doug is being pulled in several directions. Claire has decided she wants to come home and doesn’t seem to be taking no for an answer. Newcomer Foxy is trying to escape his past and has found himself in a town filled with people who seem to want to know him genuinely, and that terrifies him. Sophie is struggling with her ailing father, teenage son, and her missing husband. To make matters worse, little boys are going missing and ending up dead. Will Castleby ever be the same?

A lot was happening in this book! We reconnect with our favorites from book one and are introduced to some new characters.

The character development is strong, with several characters dealing with past trauma and future dilemmas. There are some heavy topics throughout this novel, and they were handled with such care.

I enjoyed how this story was told. Multiple perspectives and storylines run together. It all comes together terrifyingly and dramatically.

This was a fast-paced, intense ride from start to finish. When you think there couldn’t possibly be anything else happening- you turn the page.

I loved that this book focused so much on Doug and newcomer Foxy. I appreciate that J.M. Simpson isn’t afraid to write characters who are vulnerable, emotional, and trying to process their trauma.

I still adore Jesse. She is so strong. The things this woman has endured are wild, yet she is still kind and quick to smile. Her relationships with everyone have blossomed, and Jesse has grown as a character so much.

There were several twists I didn’t see coming. I had several instances where my jaw dropped, and I had to stare at the page for a minute. I devoured this book- I couldn’t put it down. And now I really need book three.

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