Book Review: Drowning With Others by Linda Keir
Title: Drowning With Others
Author: Linda Keir
Released: October 01, 2019
They have the perfect marriage. Did one of them kill to get it?
Prep school sweethearts Ian and Andi Copeland are envied by everyone they know. They have successful businesses, a beautiful house in St. Louis, and their eldest daughter, Cassidy, is following in their footsteps by attending the prestigious Glenlake Academy. Then, a submerged car is dredged from the bottom of a swimming hole near the campus. So are the remains of a former writer-in-residence who vanished twenty years ago – during Ian and Andi’s senior year.
When Cassidy’s journalism class begins investigating the death, Ian and Andi’s high school secrets rise to the surface. Each has a troubled link to the man whose arrival and sudden disappearance once set the school on edge. And each had a reason to want him gone. As Cassidy unwittingly edges closer to the truth, unspoken words, locked away for decades, will force Ian and Andi to question what they really know – about themselves, about the past, and about a marriage built on a murderous lie.
Please keep in mind that this review contains spoilers for the entire book. Read with caution. If you click the “Read More”, it is under the assumption that you either don’t care about spoilers or you’ve already read the book.
This book would’ve been my Kindle First Choice for September 2019 if I didn’t have issues with payment. However, this is my first borrowed book from the Kindle Unlimited library.
That being said, I’m glad that I only borrowed this book instead of purchasing it for my Kindle First Choice. This story was told from three points of view – Andi, Ian, and Cassidy. Occasionally, the chapters would be mixed up with journal entries from both Andi and Ian from when they were in high school to make things a bit more interesting in terms of who they were versus who they are in the story’s present time. And already, I had a major issue with it – the focus was supposed to be on Glenlake Academy and, more specifically, the legacy of the Copelands.
When I first started to read this, I got the idea that the author wanted to present – Cassidy was the current point of view as she and her journalism class tried to figure out who Dallas Walker was and what had happened. Andi was the point of view of a previous generation and how she sees Cassidy after what she had been through. Ian, though, I had expected him to be from the point of view of the legacy itself or, to put it bluntly, the administrative point of view. Instead, while Andi’s point of view was the strongest, the weakest link had to be Ian’s.
Ian’s point of view were the chapters I honestly dreaded to read outside of his journal entries the most because it focused on a sub-plot about him owning a liquor store, or a very small franchise of one, to him almost being a victim of fraud. And truth to be told, it was very uneventful compared to the actual mystery at hand. Even and especially by its resolution, it seemed to even be pointless to be there in the first place.
I would’ve thought that since the Copelands, his parents especially, were the fifth generation of students to pass through Glenlake, that Ian would at the very least take a job there. It would’ve put some perspective on the administrative end of the mystery since Cassidy is taking the current seniors’ perspective and Andi for the alumni. It would’ve been a much more coherent way for the mystery to develop more and to lay more suspicion on Ian other than him signing off on his journal entries, “God, I totally want to kill him,” and it would’ve made the actual killer more understandable and less “Oh, yeah we all totally knew what was going on! We just never showed it on our faces because we care about the academy’s legacy that much!”
This book didn’t anger me specifically – it was more of a bigger disappointment than it actually was. From the blurb, it sounded that each character presented, except the kids, would have had a reason to kill Dallas Walker, a writer-in-residence of 1997. However, it left a lot to be desired. I mean, really, there were only two characters that could’ve done it and near the middle, you’ll realize it’s neither of them.
The author really went out of their way to make Dallas as unlikable as possible – preying on an underage girl (or even possibly more than one!), drugs, and taking boys to bars for some underage drinking. The buildup was fine but once Andi and Dallas entered their forbidden relationship, it was like he totally forgot how to hide his vices and might as well have done drugs in front of the billiards club he made. I understand that there must’ve been a reason for multiple people to want to kill him but at the same time, I really felt like the author had to hammer it in that “he deserved to die – he slapped a pregnant teenage girl!”
However, one point of view I truly did enjoy was Andi. She had been secretive about a lot of things regarding her epic breakup with Ian and even afterwards, she’d drown her secrets with wine (although I did start get a bit concerned when almost every chapter of hers, she’s downing a few more bottles) and started to become more and more desperate by sneaking to her husband’s journal to her daughter’s Google Drive folder for her journalism class. She really did have a strong case and a very strong enough reason to want to kill Dallas herself. But again, once you reach the mid-point, you’ll already scratch her off the suspect list.
For Cassidy, she’s written how a mother wishes her teenage daughter to be, except maybe hiding the boyfriend and the underage drinking (but hey, even fictional people can’t be perfect). A lot of her chapters dragged a little until she made the discovery about her mother’s bracelet. But then it dragged again until she makes the decision to go behind her teacher’s back and talk to a potential suspect the in-story cops had arrested. I honestly can’t complain too much about Cassidy other than by the end, I just didn’t care about her college prospects anymore – I wanted this book to end and it just almost wouldn’t.
However, as I mentioned before, Ian’s chapters were the weakest for me. Included in his subplot, he had borrowed money from Andi’s father, Simon, a wealthy “Hollywood-type” that Andi wanted little to do with even though he would do anything for her. It’s rather stupid of Ian to borrow money behind Andi’s back and when she found out, she literally whipped out of her phone and said, “Let’s finish this dumb sub-plot already.” Like, alright, nothing bad would’ve happened to him then.
If the author really wanted this father sub-plot to come up in some way, they probably could’ve had him put money into Glenlake too – making him a legacy as well and especially since it’s clear that no one really likes him (or respects him), it could’ve been an interesting angle to explore on the theme of legacies. Who do you accept as a legacy? How would others possibly view that even with the possibility of a scandal leaking out to the public?
Another thing too is that the story is fully focused on this academy. I never got the sense that the Copelands lived in their home or the city of St. Louis. Instead, the focus was on the academy – and that’s why I wondered why the author just couldn’t make Ian part of the board of trustees, or hell, even the new headmaster himself. Then they would’ve been able to gain access to the files they needed a lot easier and it would’ve made Cassidy under the ire of the students even more understandable other than just her taking all the glory and credit for their hard work.
One final thing, though the person who’s actually responsible for Dallas’s death was just as innocuous as most of the fluff, there’s way too much filler. There’s sixty chapters and if you took half of it out, you’ll get the same results. Overall, just like the book, this review will meet an abrupt and random end.
Posted on October 5, 2019, in ★★☆☆☆ – 2 Stars, Book Reviews, Book Series, Oneshots and tagged drowning with others, kindle first choice, linda keir, reading, review, spoilers. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.