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Review: Dreaming of Water by A.J. Banner

Title: Dreaming of Water

Author: A.J. Banner
Year published: 2023
Category: Adult fiction (mystery)
Pages: 267 pages
Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Location: (my 2023 Google Reading map)USA (WA)

SummaryA woman’s investigation into her past reveals family secrets and lies in this novel of discovery, redemption, and the mutability of memory by the bestselling author of The Good Neighbor and In Another Light.

Astrid Johansen swore she would never return to Heron Bay, Washington. In that idyllic coastal town, her little sister, Nina, drowned in a reflecting pool under Astrid’s watch seventeen years ago. Though guilt has kept her away, Astrid can’t ignore her aunt Maude’s urgent plea to come back. Maude claims to have found a letter that will change everything about the past.

When Astrid arrives in Heron Bay, she finds Maude unconscious, perhaps the victim of an attack. As Maude lingers in a coma, Astrid uncovers alarming evidence that Nina’s drowning that tragic night was no accident. But in a town rife with secrets, and in a family still fractured by grief, who knows the truth?

Astrid’s investigation leads her down a trail of dark memories, lies, and betrayals that will shatter her perception of everyone she thought she knew―even herself.

Review: This is another good mystery by A.J. Banner (my reviews of her past novels: In Another Light; After Nighfall; The Good Neighbor; The Twilight Wife; and The Poison Garden). 

Banner is so good at setting the place of her novels. She lives in the Pacific Northwest (US) and sets her novels there so she captures the smells, sites, and sounds so well. I really feel like I am in the novel, seeing what the characters see.

The characters are good, too. Astrid has been haunted by the drowning death of her younger sister many years ago and has felt guilty for years. Banner expertly exposes family and neighbor relationships, slowly revealing relevant information so that there are no wacky unexpected twists. When the truth was revealed it made sense and was a satisfying ending/solution to the mystery.

One of the fun aspects of this novel was the typewriter. I know that A.J. Banner loves old typewriters (she typed the first draft of this novel on a typewriter) and it's cool that she incorporated this into the novel as a key to the mystery. I quite like when an inanimate object is a character in a book and in this mystery, the typewriter plays that role.

Challenges for which this counts: RIP
  • RIP--mystery

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