Author: Alex Barclay
Publication Date: April 2nd 2020
Publisher: Harper Collins UK
Genre: Psychological Thriller
Seven friends. One killer. No escape…
A group of childhood friends are reunited at a luxury inn on a remote west coast peninsula in Ireland. But as a storm builds outside, the dark events that marred their childhoods threaten to resurface.
And when a body is discovered, the group faces a shocking realisation: a killer is among them, and not everyone will escape with their lives
Thank you to the publisher for a e-copy of the book. All thoughts are my own and unbiased.
When I started I confess, it felt like reading someone’s diary. It felt sneaky, it felt private and most of all it gave me a first-class ticket on someone’s personal ride to hell. There was a deep undercurrent of evil fizzling through the story, threatening to snap up to the surface, making its presence known, jolting everyone back to the past. You just knew that something sinister was going to invade everyone’s space. The cover sent a chill down my spine.
A reunion, seven friends…what could go wrong?
Seven friends reunite, and recount stories of days gone by. They are marred by past events, what happened? For many of the seven characters childhood was a battleground. They drink, become merry, have a laugh, a jibe and reminisce. It was all supposed to be fun, the lines weren’t supposed to become blurred. Just how wrong do things need to become for the group to leave and never be the same again? We all develop and become products of our childhood and adolescence but not allowing it to determine the rest of your life is what is important
Edie and Johnny. They have renovated a site of remarkable childhood importance and have transformed it into a luxury Inn. It’s impressive. Situated in Beara in West Cork they both decided to invest, but not before getting a good friend to give it the once over for them, Patrick. Great financial strain and paperwork don’t stand in their way and they develop it fantastically. Where else would be the perfect backdrop for their reunion for her best friend, Helen’s birthday. Edie is such a kind and caring soul who in my estimation puts incredible amounts of pressure on herself to be the perfect hostess to their friends. She wants them to love the place, but she also wants her friends to be happy. Johnny, Edie’s husband is a strange one for me. He constantly seems on edge and nervy, keeps disappearing into the basement. He also seems to have a bit of a problem with Patrick. Just what has gone on between them? What will transpire as the night goes on? I went into the novel with an open mind, I let it lead me blind even though I could feel the spirits of days gone past all around me.
The friends, Helen, Laura, Claire, Murphy and Patrick arrive, and you get a sense of pride in their friend. Each character has complex layers and as the night develops we get to see them stripped bare. Motives and behaviours being unleashed under stress and panic. Murphy was by far my favourite character and his uncanny sense of humour which could be devilishly dark and self-deprecating kept the group alive. Even during the scenes when everyone else was lashing out and becoming more and more defensive, Murphy just couldn’t stop making hilarious comments, probably due to his nerves. As the night continues on, we get POV’s of all the characters when they were young. It’s a foreshadowing, its intricate and it just leaves the reader with more questions than it answers. Things get complicated when the power goes out, the tension is fraught and sizzling with electricity and then they discover a body…
The body is the catalyst for the group to basically implode. Home truths are thrown around, doubts start creeping into their minds and the fear is palpating around them. This discovery feels like a ten-tonne weight that seven individuals are trying carry. It’s heavy, it’s a burden and it threatens to destroy them all. The past has come back to haunt them. You can’t outrun your past. The luxury Inn is where the past becomes the present. The novel had me guessing until the very end, no-one was safe, everyone was potentially a threat. Alex Barclay writes with a honed skill that leaves devastation in her path. She writes every-day normal people with such an authentic sense of foreboding. I had my suspicions, but I was entirely proven wrong, I liked that the author dropped the mic on me. I felt the fear, how vivid scenes became, dancing in my vision.