cover image Dead Low Tide

Dead Low Tide

Bret Lott. Random, $25 (256p) ISBN 978-1-4000-6375-8

A murder, a scandal, and a dangerous web of secrets make up Lott’s 13th novel, the sequel to 1998’s The Hunt Club. Huger Dillard, ever opinionated and vocal, narrates the story, punctuating the text with his commentary as he unravels the mystery of Landgrave Hall, a small wealthy community in South Carolina where something important seems to be brewing. Huger (short for Huguenot), at 27, lives in the family home, tending to his blind father, “Unc.” When the two of them sneak onto a golf course late at night so that Unc can practice his swing in private, they uncover a body in the mire of low tide, tipping off a series of events that brings armed forces, terrorist activity, and skeletons from the closet careening into motion. Through these events, Huger, initially complacent and seeming to have given up on life, starts to believe that things could be better. “Maybe I wanted to have my own life, to live on my own and not have to ferry Unc through his days, me his chauffeur and caddy and coffee bearer and eyes every day I was alive.” The initial discovery and premise of the novel is captivating, but the tale loses steam midway and falters into monotony. The final chapters arrive with a rush of events and information that assemble into a jarring and thrilling outcome, but more clues and tension leading up would guarantee that a reader might actually arrive at the end. (Jan.)