Skip to content

Book Review: The Brighton Mermaid by Dorothy Koomson

Whenever I’m struggling to find a book to read, I head straight to one of my auto-buy authors for inspiration.

Dorothy Koomson is perhaps my most read author. I love her books, I love the mystery in them, I love the fact she writes strong black women. i have never read one of her books and put it down thinking ‘well that was a bit meh’.

When I found myself in a bit of a reading slump with added holiday blues quite a few weeks ago now, I headed straight to my Dorothy Koomson back catalogue for some inspiration and picked up the Brighton Mermaid and I’m pleased I did.

From the back…

Brighton Beach, 1993

Teenagers Nell and Jude find the body of a young woman and when no one comes to claim her, she becomes known as the Brighton Mermaid. Nell is still struggling to move on when, three weeks later, Jude disappears.

Twenty-five years on, Nell is forced to quit her job to find out who the Brighton Mermaid really was – and what happened to her best friend that summer.

But as Nell edges closer to the truth, dangerous things start to happen. Someone seems to be watching her every move, and soon she starts to wonder who in her life she can actually trust….

This book has a bit of everything in it, it’s a mystery, a thriller and it’s a family drama.

When Nell and Jude find a body on the beach after sneaking out of their houses to go to a party, neither one could imagine the far-reaching consequences it’ll have on them and their families’ lives.

The teenagers are dragged to the police station and treated as suspects and belittled by a racist detective. The police become convinced Nell’s father has something to do with the woman on the beach.

When Jude disappears, the suspicion around Nell’s family intensifies and the tension builds.

Twenty-five years later, Nell is still obsessed with who the Brighton Mermaid was, what happened to Jude and clearing her family name once and for all.

It’s a well written thriller told over dual timelines, through Nell and her sister Macy. 

The events of 1993 have left Macy with severe OCD, she too is harbouring a secret about the night Jude disappeared. Nell has spent her adult life keeping people at a distance. She doesn’t let anyone get close, has never really settled and been working to save enough money to take a year off to solve the twenty-five-year-old mystery.

 At first glance, you’d be forgiven for thinking that this book is a standard crime thriller, it’s not.

The thing that kept me engrossed in the Brighton Mermaid was the family drama; Nell and Macy had a strained relationship. They’re both intriguing characters, they can be frustrating at times, they’re both flawed. They’re actions and motivations were both believable, which made them great to read about.

I loved how Koomson developed the relationship between them and explored how Nell’s discovery and obsession with the Brighton Mermaid had damaged it. it’s a story about how one action can completely throw your life off course for years to come

It’s a really fast paced book, with a lot of twists, especially as Nell gets closer to figuring out the truth. I don’t want to spoil it for other readers so there isn’t too much I can say about the ending, it did come to a satisfying conclusion, a conclusion that made sense.

As I read this book, I started to become as obsessed as Nell was with solving the mystery. I wanted to know what had really happened all of them years ago, who was behind the murder and what had happened to Jude.

I’d recommend any Dorothy Koomson book I’ve ever read, they’re a different kind of thriller, her books are bought to life by the families she creates. 

Dorothy Koomson is the queen of the twist; her books are great. If you haven’t read any, I suggest you do, and The Brighton Mermaid is a good place to start.

radiosarahc View All

Journalist, writer, traveller, music lover, collector of hats, news addict, bookworm

13 thoughts on “Book Review: The Brighton Mermaid by Dorothy Koomson Leave a comment

  1. Amazing review! I haven’t read anything by Dorothy Koomson before but your review has made me want to! I love a good thriller but I don’t think I’ve read one with much family drama – it sounds like a fab combination! Thank you so much for sharing, adding this one to my tbr x

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: