Reef by David Kendrick
David was once in my Thursday writing class so when I heard he'd published Reef for Kindle I had to buy it, as I remembered bits of it from when he'd read it out in class. The paperback is just out as well, if you prefer that to an ebook.
Reef is set in New Zealand. An artificial surf reef has been built, and is apparently upsetting the local Maoris, particularly Gnat. Englishman Shaun and his pregnant girlfriend Chloe arrive to investigate the reef with a view to building a similar one in Bournemouth. Gnat causes trouble when he sets fire to some surfers' cars and in the process badly injures one of them. But it is surf shop owner Mickey who has most to lose from the reef. Shaun befriends him but Chloe instinctively mistrusts him.
The story twists and turns at a rapid pace. There's lots of detail of Maori culture in there, and a good sense of place. I've been to the area in New Zealand where this is set, and funnily enough live very near Bournemouth's failed artificial surf reef which was presumably part of the inspiration for this novel. So on a lot of levels I liked this book very much. My only gripe is that is could have done with a better proof-read - there were quite a lot of errors which I found distracting.
But as a story it races along, the plot is brilliant, the characters are memorable and I loved the way they all developed during the course of the novel. Well worth a read if you enjoy a thriller with an unusual setting.