Dead in the Water

DITW cover

Shortlisted for 2017 Davitt Awards

Brigitte’s crime-writer ex-boyfriend turns up in town to promote his new novel, in which a woman is found dead — murdered — in a country lake. Hours later, Brigitte watches the police pull a body from the water near her Gippsland home. Her husband, a country cop now, is at the scene, though it’s not his investigation; he’s only helping the Melbourne Homicide Squad. But there’s something he’s not telling Brigitte.

Moving to the country was supposed to be safer than the city. And they were supposed to be happier. With her personal life spiralling out of control once more, and fearing her family is in danger, who can Brigitte turn to? And what if she makes the wrong choice?

Dead in the Water is available from your local bookstore, online, or from Scribe.


‘Chandler creates believable characters, having the ability to make the struggles of ordinary people compelling. Brigitte is an original hero — an ordinary person, with her own struggles, drawn into extraordinary events. The domestic drama is as compelling as the crime investigation.’
— Graeme Simsion, author of The Rosie Project, The Rosie Effect and The Best of Adam Sharp

‘When your last name is Chandler, your writing had better be good and Tania Chandler delivers again. A crime writer who cares about her sentences as much as her characters, her atmospheric writing is taut and terrific.  Dead in the Water is that rare book which satisfies as a stand alone novel but is actually a sequelWhether you start with this or her first book, Please Don’t Leave Me Here, Chandler demonstrates her ability to deliver a psychologically nuanced portrayal of damaged lives.’
— Aoife Clifford, author of All These Perfect Strangers

Dead in the Water unsettles with an all-too-imaginable homegrown brand of suspense.’
— Honey Brown, author of Through the Cracks

‘Dead in the Water pushes many of the stereotypes of crime fiction aside, while still paying homage to its essence, to create a more female-centric story.’
Robin Elizabeth, The Newtown Review of Books

‘Whilst you’d definitely call these character study novels, that’s not to imply that plot, or even sense of place take a secondary seat. The use of the internal novel is an interesting device, cleverly employed, avoiding pitfalls and potential clichés. Using the setting of a sheltered little island community, disconnected from the mainland, isolated and vaguely disconcerting works without screaming closed room at you. Even when approaching them as character studies, these are not always likeable people. They fail, recover, act bravely and idiotically, they frustrate and annoy. They are also unexpectedly sympathetic and always extremely real.’
Karen Chisholm, Aust Crime

‘In addition to the actual narrative crime story that pulls the reader along from one page to the next, Chandler’s depiction of Brigitte’s personal life is also engaging. She merges psychological trauma and emotional baggage seamlessly into the main story, giving us lots of intense layering …
I felt very connected to the characters in this book and found them easily relatable. I found myself cheering them on through their emotional troubles, despite their flawed characters which at times had me actively disliking them and / or their actions. I do think that’s one sign of a good book – that it is peopled with personalities that are unlikeable or exhibit bad behaviour, and yet we are still engaged with them, precisely because they correlate more closely to real life, which is never black and white, but always shades of grey.
But the most appealing aspect of this novel is the riveting suspense and tension, which ratchets up the closer we get to the end, leaving us turning the pages especially fast through the last quarter of the book when we are hit with surprise after surprise – we are unsuspecting of a myriad of victims, villains, perpetrators, innocents and evil-doers. And in those last, final, racing pages, the story comes together in a most satisfying way.’
Cass Moriaty, author

Dead in the Water shows Chandler’s development as a crime writer and as a novelist … In an age of throwaway domestic thrillers with the word “Girl” in the title, Dead in the Water shows the breadth of the Australian crime fiction scene. It demonstrates a willingness to explore real characters dealing with real trauma.’
Robert Goodman, Aust Crime (review originally published at Pile by the Bed)

‘The Ned Kelly and Davitt-shortlisted Chandler has written another absorbing thriller, shot with fear, crackling energy, and dynamic, flawed characters.’
Fiona Hardy, Readings

DEAD IN THE WATER Spotify playlist: