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Bleak Water [Paperback]

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Item description for Bleak Water by Danuta Reah...

"Reah delivers brilliant and chilly set pieces . . . she is a fine writer and her projection of sheer terror is enviable scary."-The Literary Review

"This is a crime novel with a strong element of psychological suspense . . . it combines the world of modern art with the world of the modern police force . . . the last fifty pages are nail biting."-Irish Examiner

"Reah is skilled at splicing domestic life with the menace of fear and at creating characters who are vulnerable, intelligent and humane."-Manchester Evening News (England)

Beyond the new city center developments, the old Sheffield canal is overgrown, run down, and deserted. Signs of regeneration creep along its towpaths, including a small innovative gallery housed in one of the warehouses. But between the renovations it's a dark and lonely place-the perfect site for an exhibition reworking Brueghel's The Triumph of Death.

For Eliza Eliot, the curator, the chance to show well-known artist Daniel Flynn's work at the gallery is a coup. But when a young woman's body is found in the canal, Flynn's nightmare images begin to spill out into the real world. Still affected by the murder of her friend's daughter four years earlier, Eliza is drawn deep into the violence that seems to surround the gallery. Is this the work of a psychopath, or is there a link between present horrors and the tragedy of four years ago?

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Item Specifications...

Pages   288
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.4" Width: 5.6" Height: 0.7"
Weight:   0.5 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Sep 1, 2006
Publisher   Bloody Brits Press
ISBN  1932859217  
ISBN13  9781932859218  

Availability  0 units.

More About Danuta Reah

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Reah works as an education consultant, runs writers' workshops, and is a university lecturer in English language. She also writes textbooks on English language and linguistics.

Danuta Reah currently resides in Sheffield. Danuta Reah was born in 1949.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Mystery & Thrillers > General
2Books > Subjects > Mystery & Thrillers > Mystery > General
3Books > Subjects > Mystery & Thrillers > Mystery > Women Sleuths
4Books > Subjects > Mystery & Thrillers > Thrillers > General
5Books > Subjects > Mystery & Thrillers > Thrillers > Psychological & Suspense

Reviews - What do customers think about Bleak Water?

British mystery  Dec 14, 2007

Eliza Eliot has been hired on at Second Sight Gallery as the curator by her former mentor, Jonathon Massey. With her she brings an exhibition calledThe Triumph of Death by upcoming artist Daniel Flynn, which features Brueghel's work of the same title. The canal outside the gallery has been called the canal of death - and Eliza is realizing quickly why - but will she survive the investigation?

Eliza is mourning the death of her best friend Maggie while she is planning the exhibition, and she sees the signs of death everywhere. Eliza lives over the gallery in a flat that was barely finished. She has a neighbor named Cara Hobson who lives across the hall with her infant daughter. When the body of a girl is found down the towpath from the canal, Eliza is more concerned about its effect on the gallery's opening until she discovers that it is her neighbor. Cara's body is found exactly where Maggie's daughter Ellie was discovered dead four years ago. Once the investigation begins, everyone seems to realize how little they knew about the woman and her baby who lived in their midst.

The depression and regeneration of the area in Sheffield where Eliza is living and working, builds a sense of drama. Eliza is struggling with the stress of the situations around her when she stumbles upon the body of a local missing teenager in the middle of the night. The police investigation is scattered, not sure if the two murders are connected to each other or even to the mysterious death of Ellie four years ago.

The story is told from various points of view, but mostly from Eliza's. However, the switch in times with Eliza - her past in Madrid to her present in Sheffield - took some getting used to since the only indication was the place - not time. The reader is also introduced to characters without knowing how they fit into the storyline for almost half of the book. The author weaves the multiple characters and plots into an interesting story that doesn't come together until the last few chapters with some surprises. There were also some developments in relationships that happened suddenly which was quite a distraction to the reader.

The British style of writing is quite different from American, and the writer is quite eloquent and able to weave a magical illusion of the scenes. I would recommend this mystery to people who enjoy expressive literature and art but who are able to tolerate violence and depredation.

A little scattered  Jan 13, 2007
Though the premise of the book seemed interesting, overall, I found it a confused plot. The characters, though well introduced and developed were left hanging while the story skimmed from person to person. No relationship was ever resolved and I didn't think it was the author's intent. There wasn't a balance of any brightness against all the depression in every character, every situation. This is the first book I have read by Danuta Reah, and it has not inspired me to read another.
Bleak and Feverish  Jan 8, 2007
If you don't have an ache, a cold, flu, fever, delirium, as I did when I first read this book, then when you finish it, you'll feel achy, feverish, wondering which part you dreamed, which was real, and how to get rid of the cold in your bones.
Danuta Reah's writing induces such reactions. The cold, still, dank waters of the deserted canal that winds and twists this story into a nightmare will put a chill into you that you won't shake off soon. This feeling will linger, as you wonder who did what to whom, when, why?
Art gallery curator Eliza Eliot is our peephole into this miasma. She is certain that the showing of Daniel Flynn's homage to Breughel called The Triumph of Death will place her gallery, and herself, firmly in the art world.
Perceptions are skewed and distorted as Eliza hangs this exhibition. Murders start happening that seem to echo the theme of the piece. Eliza sleepwalks through it all in a haze of remembering her friend's dead child, attending her friend's funeral, dreamily sorting through images, both real and imagined. The exhibition is a celebration of death, and someone seeems to be celebrating it, mocking it, proving its supremacy, in eerie parallel to the exhibition, made up of photos of dead children and prostitutes, murdered, discarded, forgotten by all but the ones who cling to the memory of the deaths, ignoring the lives of those who are captured in moments of decay, casual destruction, amid the creeping impersonalization of the urban sprawl that expands and then contracts upon itself, leaving behind the warehouses, now housing art galleries, and the canals, "the veins of a corpse" one character says, no more or less guilty than any of the others in this very dark tale.
What actually happened in this novel? Have a drink close at hand to ward off the chill and the fever, and maybe you'll have better luck in trying to sort it out.
Eliza is a hapless witness, a curator who does not see what is right before her; Detective Constable Tina Barraclough is no clearer, blurring the lines between duty and self indulgence; her superior Roy Farnham gets a bit cloudy himself as he tries to extract the real from the imagined and the dreams of Eliza. No one is as they seem in this book.
You need a warm fire, a bright light, a stiff drink to stave off the effects of this novel, if you can.

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