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448 pages

Harper; Reprint edition (January 27, 2009)

The Dark Tide by Andrew Gross is everything a mystery novel should be and more. Having honed his skills with James Patterson, Gross’ sophomore effort has all the skill of an established novelist while offering a fresh character and voice to the mystery genre. The character in question is Ty Hauck an investigator with the Greenwich , Conn police department  who has to investigate a hit and run that happens on the same day as a terrorist attack at Grand Central Station. The terrorist attack kills one of Greenwich’s citizens; hedge fund trader Charles Friedman and Ty has to deliver the news to the family.

The seeming improbable possibility of a connection between the two events is one of the hooks that gets the reader interested early in this multilayered story. This is a very complicated story with a hero who has many of the qualities we have come to expect in our mystery heroes these days while adding a few out of the ordinary touches. Ty is a divorced man with a daughter struggling to deal with family and work issues and still make a life for himself. He is also a good detective who has a habit at worrying at cases that don’t make sense like the hit and run. He is also the first person to be called when Charles Friedman’s widow and children are threatened about money they know nothing about.

In the tradition of good guys everywhere Ty of course puts himself on the case whole heartedly. As might be expected there is a lot of action couched in mysterious personalities who could have been taken from Central Casting but that familiarity actually makes them more effective. The core strength of Andrew Gross’ writing is the balance between character and development. The Dark Tide is of course a plot driven novel but there is a lot of character development that goes on at the same time, people in Gross’ novel are not static creations they moderate and evolve as the book progresses. When we pick up a Parker novel we know that Hawk is Hawk is Hawk and always will be, such is not the case with Hauck he shifts and changes making him a more believable character.

The Dark Tide is a novel that deserves to make it to your bookshelf. It is tightly written, a great story and well worth the read. It is the kind of book that you will look back on as a great start to a reliable series.