Allie Reynolds | The Swell

The Book: 

The Swell by Allie Reynolds
Published July 19th 2022 by G.P. Putnam’s Sons
Date read: July 9, 2022

The Characters: 

Mikki
Kenna

Buy it on Bookshop.org | Amazon


The Plot (from Goodreads):

Point Break meets And Then There Were None in a pulse-pounding beach read that explores the dangerous ties between a group of elite surfers who are determined to find the perfect waves at any cost…even murder.

The waves are to die for.

Three years ago, passionate surfer Kenna Ward lost her two great loves—after her boyfriend drowned, she hung up her surfboard and swore off the water for good. But she is drawn back to the beach when her best friend, Mikki, announces her sudden engagement to a man Kenna has never met—a member of a tight-knit group of surfers. Kenna travels to a remote Australian beach, entering a dangerous world far from civilization world where the waves, weather, and tides are all that matter. Kenna is tempted back into the surf, and drawn into the dazzling group and the beach they call their own.

But this coastal paradise has a dark side, and members of the group begin to go missing. Kenna realizes that in order to protect Mikki and learn more about the surfers, she must become one of them…without becoming one of their victims. What follows is an adrenaline-fueled thriller packed with twists and turns, exploring the dangerous edge between passion and obsession.

Click here for book spoilers for <em>The Swell</em>
Book spoilers ahead–if you haven’t yet read The Swell, I suggest you turn back now.

The Twist:

Mikki was the one killing people. She was obsessed with Kenna and had convinced people not to be her friend since childhood so she could have Kenna all to herself. She killed Cassian because she couldn’t share Kenna. She also had pushed the boy that mangled his legs when cliff diving with Kenna when they were young. When Kenna shut down after Cassian’s death, Mikki went to Australia and met Elke. She decided Elke would be her new best friend. When Elke told Mikki she was too clingy and needed to back off, Mikki killed her. Ryan saw and bribed Mikki.

Clemente did have a slight hand in his wife’s death. She was dying from cancer and unable to do the things she loved, so she tried to hang herself but didn’t get it quite right. Clemente found her and she asked for his help, so he did. He also felt that he had blood on his hands because a boy died as a result of a boxing match with him when he was young.

Sky’s real name was Greta. She had taken Clemente’s wife’s identity after she died.

Mikki pushed Ryan off the cliff. She also killed Victor. Victor was the one that “tried to drown” Kenna, but really he had just panicked when he lost his board and grabbed her and dragged her down. Mikki killed him as punishment.

Mikki convinced Clemente and Kenna to let her leave with them by saying she had seen Jack kill Victor. Sky had jumped off the cliff of her own volition, but she was trained in high diving and was completely fine.

The Ending:

Mikki, Clemente, and Kenna ended up in Cornwall together. Mikki threatened Clemente that she’d kill him if he hurt Kenna. No one found out what Mikki had done. Sky and Jack went back to Sydney together. I didn’t like that the culprit was never outed, but it did leave the door open for the reader’s speculation or a future follow-up.

The Review: 

Thank you to Putnam for this free copy and to @prhaudio for an ALC in exchange for an honest review.

Happy pub week to this spooky, gorgeous book! I absolutely love this cover, and the story was even better. I gave Shiver five stars back in January 2021, and have been looking forward to more from Allie Reynolds ever since. The Swell takes us to the beaches of Australia this time, but with the same backdrop of a competitive sport. I’ve only surfed a few times, but was drawn in by these characters’ love for the waves.

The Swell was tense right from the start. Our main character Kenna can tell something is wrong with her best friend Mikki, but she expects an abusive relationship–not that Mikki has gotten involved in a small surfing cult. When Kenna arrives at Mikki’s house unexpectedly, Mikki and her boyfriend Jack are forced to take Kenna on their surfing getaway.

I loved the group dynamics of the friends/frenemies camping out on the private beach. They were all damaged in some way, and it made for a very interesting read where everyone had secrets and no one could be trusted. I flew through this book, because I needed to figure out the truth!

I had one teeny tiny gripe with the ending, but the writing in general was so strong that it made up for it. This author is certainly skilled at the And Then There Were None style mystery, and I can’t wait to read more from her in the future!

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