• Title: Somewhere in the Shallow Sea
  • Author: Dennis Macaraeg
  • Published: 2015

Somewhere in the Shallow Sea is a crime action/thriller novel set in the Philippines, in which we meet Blake, Helen and Danny. Blake is kidnapped and held as ransom, and so Danny and Helen are forced to put aside their differences (perhaps rekindling an old flame in the process) and work furiously to save their kidnapped friend against gangs, guns and Dr Klein, the man who is after the scientific compound they brought as ransom.

Some of Macaraeg’s personal experiences of the Philippines are reflected in Somewhere in the Shallow Sea, in the description and knowledge of local areas, although there’s a definite harrowing undertone as well, due to the references of high crime rates and kidnappings.

For me, this book reminded me of an interesting, James Bond-like story – if James Bond embarked on a project to conserve fish, that is!

Somewhere in the Shallow Sea has a lot of scientific terminology in places, with references to oceanography and chemistry that were completely lost on me and, at times, felt a little “crowbarred” in.

I greatly admire Macaraeg’s ideas – he’s got plenty of them and they’re all good –  and I liked that there was a clear narrative structure with a steady pace. Somewhere in the Shallow Sea was a quick and easy read, with some suspenseful moments of action.

However, I found the technicality of Macaraeg’s writing sadly lacking; the descriptive language and dialogue seemed quite… clunky. I didn’t feel convinced that it was natural because he uses lots of synonyms, rather than using the same word again (for example using ‘oesophagus’, when ‘throat’ would more than suffice). Also, I thought more time could have been dedicated to Blake’s character at the start – I hardly knew anything about him to make me want to care about the fact his life was endangered.

I don’t make these comments to completely slate Macaraeg’s work – I appreciate the time and effort it must take to write an entire novel! I only seek to offer genuine constructive criticism, so as to help him in any of his future projects.

However, you don’t care as much about writing styles, but “pure story”, you’ll really enjoy this book. There are guns, car chases, busy cities, beautiful women and evil villains lurking around every corner – all the great conventions of an action/thriller you’d look for!

To be as fair as I can, I’ll give two ratings this time:

Writing Star Rating: 2/5 Stars

Story Star Rating: 3.5/5 Stars

***

Thanks for reading! This another bonus ReadandReview post.

Ironically, it’s Halloween today and this is a not very Halloween-y post! If you’d like to read some more Halloween-y themed posts, you can read my Halloween Book Tag or my Monster Book Challenge series.

Thank you to Dennis, for sending me a copy of his book for free. You can find his website here: dennismacaraeg.com

Somewhere in the Shallow Sea is available to buy as an e-book or paperback from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com.

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