Audiobook Review: The Devil And The Dark Water by Stuart Turton

“That mark on the sail is how it starts. It’s meant to scare us, because scared people will do anything to stop being scared and they’ll do it to almost anybody else.”

Published in 2020, The Devil And The Dark Water by Stuart Turton is set in 1634 and follows the world’s greatest detective, Samuel Pipps, who is being transported to Amsterdam to be executed for a crime he may, or may not, have committed. Travelling with him is his loyal bodyguard, Arent Hayes, who is determined to prove his friend innocent. But no sooner are they out to sea than devilry begins to blight the voyage. A twice-dead leper stalks the decks. Strange symbols appear on the sails. Livestock is slaughtered. And then three passengers are marked for death, including Samuel. Could a demon be responsible for their misfortunes?


An eerie locked-in murder mystery set aboard a merchant ship, The Devil And The Dark Water takes you on a nerve-wracking adventure that you’ll be too scared to step away from.

Part historical fiction, part paranormal, there’s a bit of everything I love in this book. It oozes with atmosphere, is brimming with suspense, and is led by a hots of intriguing characters, all of whom have something to hide.

Turton’s descriptions are so vivid that I could taste the salt in the air and feel the dampness of the lodgings, which is exactly what I wanted from this book. I recently watched the BBC series The Terror, a fictionalized account of a lost expedition to the Arctic in the 1800s, which had a very familiar feel to this story, so I could instantly picture the high seas setting and see the conflicts between the passengers and crew.

Most of all, I felt the intense threat of a dark figure lingering in the dark. I love a book with a supernatural twist and Turton really manages to put the fear into you. It’s such a chilling and gripping read, and the mystery itself is brilliantly crafted with many suspects and many motives. I was constantly changing my mind about what might be going on, but I still wasn’t even close when the answers finally came.

The Devil And The Dark Water is an unforgettable and addictive read, and I think it’s definitely going to remain one of my favourites this year.

Audiobook Review:

Okay, so… maybe part of the reason that I chose to read this in an audiobook format is that I fancy Julian Rhind-Tutt who narrates it. So I loved this audiobook. Tutt narrates the story exceptional, giving great voices to the different characters and really emphasising the spooky atmosphere. If there is ever a TV adaptation of this book, which I think there needs to be, then Tutt would make a great lead for it! Let’s make this happen.

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