5 out of 5
Book by Laurel Martin
An entertaining and suspenseful read. Fans of the thriller genre are in for a treat.
Enjoying their drive back home from Florida, married couple, Jake and Riley Marshall, find themselves stranded at a service station after their car tyre is destroyed by a sudden and violent storm. When the tow truck arrives, the young couple climb aboard, unsuspecting their driver’s true intention. What starts as a car theft and mugging eventuates into kidnapping and ransom.
Determined to find their daughter and son-in-law, Riley’s family begin a search of their own into the swampy lowlands of South Carolina. One thing they know for certain. The police are hiding something. Or their loyalties lie elsewhere.
Suspense is a hard genre to master, but Martin employs all the genre elements that ensure a thrilling adventure for the reader. The characters are well developed, each of them conflicted by the events that befall them, their flaws and strengths battling within them as they are thrown into ever increasing high-stakes. This is a survival-thriller, with the characters driving the story. Tension is created through multiple view-points, providing insight into their motivations and intentions. It drives a constant sense of worry and anticipation as the reader is made aware of things that the protagonists are not.
Small clues are positioned throughout the story, either to mislead the readers, throw suspicion onto characters, or to deliberately lead theories down the wrong path. Each scene moves the story forward, ensuring that the pace never slows, with the action driven primarily by things the protagonists cannot control. Most of the time, the protagonists can only react to these things, rather than dictate how they go.
By far, atmosphere is the strongest element of this story. The dark, swampy lowlands of South Carolina create a sense of isolation and danger at every turn. It’s a dreary, moody setting that easily transports a reader into this world and immerses them in the story.
The Lowlands is a very easy read. The pace is fast going and never jarring, with the scenes transitioning seamlessly. Overall, The Lowlands is a novel both thriller and suspense fans would enjoy after a long day at work.