Author: Ros Baxter
Fish out of Water is the first in a trilogy of mermaid tales based around Dirtwater’s Deputy Sherriff Rania Aqualina. It is witty, gritty and not what I expected. It is modern and a very original concept that does reference other mermaid myths and movies, and point out their inaccuracies in relation to the mermaids of Baxter’s imagination.
The mermaids in Fish out of Water don’t have tails, but they do have a special sort of scales and internal gill system which was quite interestingly described; they can also hydroport through singing particular notes if they are in water and have a groovy little life fish swimming in their veins.
Baxters mermaids are capable of living on land though they tend not to do it for too long, and generally when they do they like to remain near some form of water. Not so for the Aqualina’s, they have ended up in Dirtwater – the only place with no naturally occurring water source. The town is so dry they can’t even hold a mud wrestling tournament, it needs to be dirt.
There is a lot more to this story than we are let in on in Fish out of Water I believe, there is too much information missing about how the Aqualina’s came to be in Dirtwater. Hopefully the whole back story will be unraveled in the stories to come.
The mermaids underwater home is Aegira, based on the Norse legend of Aegir, and there is also mention in the course of the story that possible glimpses of Aegira in the depths of the ocean could be where the legend of Atlantis was born.
Deputy Sheriff Rania Aqualina is a tough, no nonsense cop living on borrowed time and carrying the world on her shoulders. She was a rebellious teenager and now as she approaches her 30th birthday she starts to change her perspective, tries to undo some of the damage she’s done to herself over the years and begins with a quite smoking attempt.
Rania is not what you would expect, from a hardened cop or a mermaid, she can compartmentalise a lot of things but there are times you can’t help but react as a woman. Sometimes you can’t help but get more than just professionally involved.
Escape Publishing are all about the romance, as they are all lovers of romance, so no Escape title would be complete without an element of romance and Fish Out Of Water certainly has that; but it really is only an element. The romance is not the central storyline and it is a little subtle. There is chemistry and desire but not a lot of action and that really worked for this book I think because it all helped us learn a little more about Rania.
Mystery, intrigue, tension and world building all combine with descriptive storytelling and an interesting premise which I think Baxter pulled off well. I will be interested to see where the story goes from here.