Book Reviews

Dark Water (Kildevil Cove Murder Mysteries 1) by J.S. Cook at Dreamspinner Press

Genre Gay / Bisexual / Contemporary / Law Enforcement / Romance / Mystery/Suspense/Thriller
Reviewed by Kristin F. on 20-July-2021

Book Blurb

They say trouble comes in threes. Detective Danny Quirke is already mourning his wife and mired in an internal investigation that will likely spell the end of his career. Now he must return to the Newfoundland fishing village of his youth to bury his abusive grandfather. At least his three are up. Right?


Then the bones of local boy Llewellyn Single, drowned thirty years before, wash up on the beach, and secrets Danny thought were buried forever rise violently to the surface. Only two people know what really happened: Danny Quirke and his former best friend, millionaire Tadhg Heaney.


Danny and Tadhg have been bitter enemies for years. But when Danny is accused of Llewellyn’s murder, he needs Tadhg’s help exposing the truth—before those who believe he is responsible get their revenge.


After all, on an island, nothing stays secret forever….



First edition published under the title 'Wind and Dark Water' by Dreamspinner Press, March 2020.


Book Review

First, this is not a romance novel. This is a mystery with a subplot of two childhood friends who parted ways as bitter enemies and are now reconnecting romantically. The backdrop is Newfoundland, a world of fishing villages, poverty, remote islands, and strong Irish connections.


Overall, I enjoyed this book. I found it reminiscent of several Scandinavian murder mysteries – the main character is in law enforcement, tends to have some sort of defining quirk, and frequently bends the rules to achieve the goal and objective. Add in the remoteness of the coastal village, life in a fishing community and being at the mercy of the weather, there is a dark tumultuous undercurrent.


A lot happens in this novel and I’m struggling to review without dropping spoilers or totally rewriting the book. If I keep it with the main character, Danny learns some harsh truths about his family, he finds that Tadhg isn’t the boyhood friend he left a decade or more ago, there are arson, mystery bones, and secrets. Oh so many secrets.


As I mentioned above, Danny has a hot temper and he jumps to odd conclusions which, for a police officer of his reputation, didn’t make much sense. This aspect of Danny’s personality carries over into the budding relationship with Tadhg – this is a slow to develop romance, with plenty of bumps along the way. Both men are strong-willed, each trying to be strong while coping with their own significant emotional issues, and failing miserably.


A handful of items never quite jelled for me – the love/hate push/pull of Danny and Tadhg’s relationship grew wearisome by the middle of the book, the impetus behind Danny’s leave from the police force in Ireland, the fear behind a thirty year old death, and Tadhg’s financial situation.


Overall, the murder/mystery was engaging, there is plenty of character building, the backdrop was fascinating to me, and the slow romantic development matched the mood of the book perfectly. I think with the amount of stuff going on in this book each reader is going to find their own likes and dislikes, but the overall basis is a very solid read.





DISCLAIMER: Books reviewed on this site were usually provided at no cost by the publisher or author. This book has been provided by Dreamspinner Press for the purpose of a review.


Additional Information

Format ebook and print
Length Novel, 267 pages/105663 words
Heat Level
Publication Date 30-March-2021
Price $6.99 ebook, $16.99 paperback
Buy Link