Breaking Waves by Barry Litherland

Title: Breaking waves (Phil Tyler Thrillers #1)

Author: Barry Litherland

Published on: 15 February 2022

Genre: Mystery and Thrillers

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Rating: 5 out of 5.

Breaking Waves is the first book in Barry Litherland’s Phil Tyler Thrillers series. The story begins with Phil and Wayne getting beaten up at a pub. Not Phil’s fault, though. Wayne coerced the other guy to get into a fight with him. The result: both Phil and Wayne got beaten up and banned from the pub for good. Wayne is the guy who would stand up after losing a fight. He wants others to know he will never quit.

The reason for Wayne’s stubbornness lies in his childhood. His mother was non-existent, unless you count her drinking and smoking. His older brother Tyrone was abusive and a terror. Wayne was always covered in cigarette burns and bruises. Initially, Phil’s parents did not want Phil to hang around with Wayne but Wayne always found a way into Phil and Stevie’s playgroup.

Then came Tina. Things changed when Wayne was around Tina – he was sweet on her. And no matter how petty a crime, Tina always vouched for Wayne. Things changed once again when Stevie died. It was not Wayne or Phil’s fault but Wayne blamed himself for Stevie’s death.

Mr. Oldfield, Tina’s dad, is in the ICU, recovering from a head injury. He heard someone in his house in the middle of the night and went to investigate. He was beaten up by the perp and left for dead. Phil is cornered by Mackie and Tyrone(Wayne’s brother). They want him to bring back an envelope named JAYDEE that Wayne stole from Oldfield’s house. Phil is also visited by another party – they too want the JAYDEE envelope. But Wayne has disappeared and it is up to Phil to find his friend and the envelope before the deadline.


Phil was interested in sleuthing since childhood. And this is his opportunity to learn more about the mysterious JAYDEE. As he digs deeper into the mystery, he learns there’s a lot at stake – including his life as well as those of Wayne and Tina…

Barry Litherland is a marvelous storyteller. The story kept me guessing until the end – just when I thought ‘Uff, Phil has finally found the missing piece of the puzzle,’ Bang! A twist! The story alternates between present and past – the past is more of Phil, Wayne, Stevie and Tina’s childhood. Stevie’s death is slowly revealed – until the revelation, we readers are just given bits and pieces of what might have happened to Stevie. Tyrone is involved. Very much involved! In Phil and Wayne’s childhood experiences as well as the present mess.

It was quite heart-wrenching to read Wayne being abused at home – by his older brother, Tyrone. But Wayne always kept smiling when with friends and was always up to some mischief. When caught, he disappeared for a few days before returning with burns and bruises all over. Years later, Wayne gets beaten up – at the pub – and later, by Tyrone. But he is stubborn – he will not help Phil in finding JAYDEE, whatever that is!

Excellent character portrayal and the mystery keeps one hooked until the end. Breaking Waves is the first book in this series. I found the next two on the KU catalog and I cannot wait to catch up! (Breaking Waves is also on the KU catalog.)

If you like gritty and dark mysteries, you might want to give Barry Litherland’s Breaking Waves a try. Believe me, you will not want to put down your kindle/paperback until the end.

Many thanks to Bleaknorth Publishing and NetGalley for the ARC.

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