Deep Water

Emma Bamford. Scout, $28 (320p) ISBN 978-1-9821-7036-3

At the start of Bamford’s outstanding debut, a Royal Malaysian Navy captain is alerted to a yacht in distress in the Indian Ocean, “one thousand nautical miles from land in any direction.” On board are a London couple—badly injured Jake Selkirk and his wife, Virginie Durand, who keeps repeating “I killed them” as she relates their nightmare journey. Newlyweds Jake and Virginie invested their life savings in a sailboat to visit exotic lands on an idyllic years-long honeymoon. They had planned to first visit Thailand until they heard about Amarante, a tiny, remote island with unspoiled beaches—“pure nothing, and yet everything.” Jake and Virginie aren’t alone when they reach Amarante—Pete and Stella, a nice Canadian couple, and Roly, an old salt from Australia, are already there in their respective boats. They’re soon joined by the mysterious Vitor and his standoffish girlfriend, Teresa. The near paradise’s isolation brings out people’s worst behavior, including betrayal, jealousy, and violence. This suspenseful high seas adventure moves briskly, delivering evocative, tense scenes on and under the water. Thriller fans will eagerly await Bamford’s next. Agent: Camilla Bolton, Darley Anderson Agency. (May)
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