Review: The Storm King

Book Title: The Storm King
Author: Brendan Duffy
Series: None
Genres: Mystery, Crime Fiction, Coming Of Age
Pub Date: 02/06/18

Burying the past only gives it strength–and fury.

Nate McHale has assembled the kind of life most people would envy. After a tumultuous youth marked by his inexplicable survival of a devastating tragedy, Nate left his Adirondack hometown of Greystone Lake and never looked back. Fourteen years later, he’s become a respected New York City surgeon, devoted husband, and loving father.

Then a body is discovered deep in the forests that surround Greystone Lake.

This disturbing news finally draws Nate home. While navigating a tense landscape of secrets and suspicion, resentments and guilt, Nate reconnects with estranged friends and old enemies, and encounters strangers who seem to know impossible things about him. Haunting every moment is the Lake’s sinister history and the memory of wild, beautiful Lucy Bennett, with whom Nate is forever linked by shattering loss and youthful passion.

As a massive hurricane bears down on the Northeast, the air becomes electric, the clouds grow dark, and escalating acts of violence echo events from Nate’s own past. Without a doubt, a reckoning is coming–one that will lay bare the lies that lifelong friends have told themselves and unleash a vengeance that may consume them all.


Have you ever read a book and simply couldn’t fit it neatly into a single category? That’s how I felt about The Storm King; I found that it defied genre boundaries and haven’t a clue how to portray the correct recommendation for it. It is suspenseful, yes, but I wouldn’t market it as a thriller. The story is a slow burning mystery, a delectable piece of crime fiction, and a coming of age story- all wrapped into one neat and tidy novel. I hate to compare books to one another, but the only one that gave me a similar feeling while reading recently was The Chalk Man by C.J. Tudor; this wasn’t due to the plot or writing style being similar, but they both had some similar themes regarding the loss of childhood innocence and centered around mysterious circumstances of murder. Again, I emphasize the FEELING here, being that it caused much contemplation over important themes. Are we a product of our circumstances? Do each of our actions force a chain of similar reactions that could have been avoided otherwise?

Nate reminded himself that this was Greystone Lake. This was death and loss and secrets and lies and rage. But it was also home. For the next few days, he must make himself belong here again. This was the barest minimum of his debt. 

If you’re looking for a fast paced thriller or even the briefest of psychological suspense to carry the weight of the story, you won’t find it here. This book is for the patient reader who is looking for deep characterization over action and drama; the lush writing and complex formatting is best served to those who like to take their time and experience the growing up process alongside these teens. I found the style of storytelling to be quite compelling; here we have past and present tense being shown from the third person POV which made for a challenging (in a good way) reading experience and kept me guessing as to what was coming next. It’s the type of story that gives you some of the answers up front and then fills in the blanks along the way. I know I have harped on the fact that this isn’t a thriller, but the final 75 pages or so WERE indeed thrilling. So there you have it. 😉

It was a storybook town, but as in any fairy tale, things were not as perfect as they first appeared.

I cannot convey how incredibly refreshing and invigorating it was to pick up a mystery that was neither “the twisty-est psychological thriller you’ve ever read” or “insert generic plot of marriage in crisis featuring domestic abuse and marital rape”. This was just a straight up classic crime fiction with a traditional feeling mystery, full of rich characters and insightful writing. I cannot believe I haven’t seen this book plastered all over every form of social media yet, so if you’re tired of the in-your-face mainstream reads of late, give this one a try. Highly recommended and a tale I won’t soon forget.

*Many thanks to the publisher for providing my copy. 


7 thoughts on “Review: The Storm King”

  1. I remember the time when most books were written in the third person and it was really rare to come across something with 1st person (other than diary style stuff).
    This book has been on my radar for a while now. The slow burner aspect is quite intriguing. After all the fast paces (or so called) stuff i’ve read recently, i need something like this in my life.

    Liked by 1 person

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