THE LOST SWIMMER by Ann Turner, Book Review: Compelling

Ann Turner’s debut novel The Lost Swimmer is an entertaining and compelling contemporary thriller, that would easily translate to the big screen.

The Lost Swimmer Synopsis:

Rebecca Wilding, an archaeology professor, makes sense of the past for a living.

But suddenly, truth and certainty are turning against her. Rebecca is accused of serious fraud, and worse, she suspects – she knows – that her husband, Stephen, is having an affair.

Desperate to find answers, Rebecca leaves with Stephen for Greece, Italy and Paris, where she can uncover the conspiracy against her, and hopefully win Stephen back to her side, where he belongs. There’s too much at stake – her love, her family, her work.

But on the idyllic Amalfi Coast, Stephen disappears.

In a swirling daze of panic and fear, Rebecca is dealt with fresh allegations. And with time against her, she finds help in the most unlikely of places, and uncovers the secrets that stand between her and Stephen – and the deceit that has chased her halfway around the world.

Sometimes marriage is a lonely place.

(Simon & Schuster)

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After watching highly accomplished Aussie screenwriter and director Ann Turner describe her debut novel in the video below, I could not wait to dive into it. Along with the various international locales, what particularly attracted me to The Lost Swimmer was its’ categorisation as a ‘literary’ thriller, a favoured genre of mine.

Having now enjoyed this novel, would I describe it as a literary thriller?

No. Turner’s prose is smooth, stylish and visually fecund, conjuring an almost cinematic experience for readers, but the narrative and plot lacked the complexity and subtlety I’d expect from literature. The Lost Swimmer is a great psychological thriller.

The unforgiving sea churned, sheets of rain sweeping ashore like an army of ghosts as I sat watching from my car.

While some characters within the Australian setting lacked the depth I would have liked, I was hooked when the story moved to Europe and the pace and intrigue escalated. The eclectic ensemble cast Turner surrounded lead Rebecca with there were a delight.

The Lost Swimmer is also the first novel I’ve read that perceptively speaks to the impact of the collapse of the Greek economy on the nations people.

Homeless people were everywhere, a sight hitherto unseen in a society that had always taken pride in looking after its own.

Although relatively scant on archaeological detail (given the lead character’s profession), Turner’s love and respect for history is self-evident.

Ann Turner’s debut novel The Lost Swimmer is an entertaining and compelling contemporary thriller, that would easily translate to the big screen.

BOOK RATING: The Story 4 / 5 ; The Writing 4 / 5

Get your copy of The Lost Swimmer by Ann Turner from:


Genre: Drama, Action-Adventure, Crime-Detective, Mystery, Thriller, Romance

This review counts towards my participation in the Aussie Author Challenge 2015 and the 2015 Australian Women Writers Challenge.

About the Author, Ann Turner

Ann Turner is an award-winning screenwriter and director, avid reader, and history lover. She is drawn to salt-sprayed coasts, luminous landscapes, and the people who inhabit them all over the world. She is a passionate gardener. Her films include the historical feature Celia starring Rebecca Smart—which Time Out listed as one of the fifty greatest directorial debuts of all time, Hammers Over The Anvil starring Russell Crowe and Charlotte Rampling, and the psychological thriller Irresistible starring Susan Sarandon, Sam Neill, and Emily Blunt. Ann has lectured in film at the Victorian College of the Arts. Returning to her first love, the written word, in her debut novel The Lost Swimmer Ann explores themes of love, trust and the dark side of relationships. She is currently working on her second novel, Out of the Ice, a mystery thriller set in Antarctica. Ann was born in Adelaide and lives in Victoria.

Other reviews of The Lost Swimmer : Fair Dinkum Crime ; Rachel Tsoumbakos ; Devoted Eclectic

* My receiving a copy of this book from the publisher for review purposes did not impact the expression of my honest opinions in the review above.