Review: Tenacity by JS Law


I’m never going on a submarine. I mean, it’s not like it was on my bucket list, but now I’ve read JS Law’s thriller in which he conveys the close quarters and claustrophobic atmosphere so well, I’m steering clear.

Tenacity is Law’s debut novel, and it tells the story of female naval investigator Danielle Lewis, known as Dan, as she tries to untangle the suicide of ‘Whisky’ Walker on board the HMS Tenacity just days after his wife Cheryl has been attacked and killed. I downloaded the book (out now in eBook, November in hardback) after meeting James Law at the Festival of Writing where he was running a session on dialogue.

Law’s story is impressive in itself: he has risen through the ranks of the Royal Navy, starting as an apprentice and spending the latter half of his career in the submarine service. He brings his experience to this book in a positive way – plenty of authentic detail, not too much explanation for the uninitiated. I think one of the strongest points of this book is the atmosphere: Lewis’s time on a submarine is critical to untangling the plot. She is surrounded by hostile men, in a community that protects its own, against a backdrop of a hostile environment, metal walls lines with pipes, while her bunk is amongst the bombs. In that setting the whispers and suppressed violence turn into outright attacks. Lewis wraps up the case, as required by fictional detectives, but many threads are left open, and I’ll be watching out for the next in the series where Danielle Lewis moves away from the submarine setting.

Tenacity costs from £6.49 for the eBook at time of writing.

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