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In Deep Water by Sam Blake @BonnierZaffre

February 7, 2018


Source: Netgalley

Publication: 8th February 2018 from Bonnier Zaffre

Good intentions can be deadly . . .

Cat Connolly is back at work after the explosion that left her on life support. Struggling to adjust to the physical and mental scars, her work once again becomes personal when her best friend Sarah Jane Hansen, daughter of a Pulitzer-winning American war correspondent, goes missing.

Sarah Jane is a journalism student who was allegedly working on a story that even her father thought was too dangerous.

With Sarah Jane’s father uncontactable, Cat struggles to find a connection between Sarah Jane’s work and her disappearance. But Sarah Jane is not the only one in deep water when Cat comes face to face with a professional killer . . .

In the world of missing persons every second counts, but with the clock ticking, can Cathy find Sarah Jane before it’s too late?

I was eager to read the second in the series of Cat Connelly books, because the first, Little Bones was such a corker and ended with such a heart stopping moment that I couldn’t wait for the next in the series.

Cathy Connolly is a member of the Garda. Following a difficult, traumatising and deadly case, she has now gone back to work and has resumed her kick boxing training at the local gym. Though far from mentally or physically recovered; she is still suffering from PTSD – she is determined to get on with her life and make the best of her considerable drive and skills. She resumes her studies in Forensic Psychology and is making serious strides to regain her kick boxing awards under the tutelage of Niall McIntyre, an ex-para who has coached her since she was a teenager.

She works out with her best friend and fellow student at Dublin University, Sarah Jane Hansen and so, when Sarah Jane fails to show and cannot be found anywhere, Cat must take action to establish what has happened to her.  Sarah Jane is a journalism student – unsurprisingly since her dad is a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist and also works in one of Dublin’s most expensive restaurants as a waitress.

When Sarah Jane’s mother phones Cat to say she is worried and Cat learns that she and her father had argued about a story she was working on which he felt had the potential to lead her into danger, Cat grows seriously concerned for Sarah Jane’s safety.

Under the watchful eye of her boss and detective partner, DI Dawson O’Rourke, Cat sets out to track Sarah Jane’s movements.

This is almost a book of two halves; in the first half of the book we learn about Sarah Jane through Cat and follow Cat’s retracing of SJ’s steps and as she discovers that something has gone seriously awry. Then the pace of the book picks up as a young woman who had contact with Sarah Jane also goes missing, and the case leads Cat and O’Rourke into the ruthless world of Dublin organised crime and human trafficking.

As ever, Cat is prone to rushing in where others would have cooler heads, but I didn’t always feel that this was successful as O’Rourke felt somewhat too tolerant of Cat’s behaviour for this to be a convincing reflection of a police case.

Because I had become invested in the characters in Little Bones, I was a wee bit disappointed that O’Rourke and McIntyre did not progress much in character development and I felt the lack of that personal connection as the book progressed.

I did, however, very much enjoy the character of Jacob; a young boy with Asperger’s who gave reader a much needed personal stake in the outcome of the investigation. Sensitively drawn, Jacob provides an emotional connection with the reader that really worked for me.

For me, In Deep Water lacked the pace and drive of the first book and I found aspects of the plot a little too contrived, and the ending, though explosive, a touch unbelievable, but overall it was a decent read and the Dublin and Enniskerry settings are very enjoyable.


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About Sam Blake


Sam Blake is a pseudonym for Vanessa Fox O’Loughlin, who is originally from St. Albans in Hertfordshire but has lived at the foot of the Wicklow Mountains in Ireland for (almost) more years than she lived in the UK. Married to a retired member of An Garda Siochana she has two children, three cats and a fish, and runs the world’s only national writing resources website, as well as a publishing consultancy – she is Ireland’s leading literary scout.

Follow Sam on twitter @samblakebooks

Find out more on Sam’s website


  1. Oh I really liked Little Bones and I still remember that cliffhanger ending! I was excited about the follow-up when I heard about it and I’d expect to see more of their personal relationship in this novel too. Are you going to continue the series or will you leave at this point? I hope her next novel will be more satisfying.


  2. It is still a decent read and yes I probably will persevere with the series because I know what the author is capable of. I really wanted to love this, just couldn’t quite.


  3. Holly B / Dressedtoread permalink

    Great post of this one!


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