Author: Sophie McKenzie
Publisher: Simon and Schuster Austrlalia
Copyright Year: 2015
Review By: Anne Bruist
On holiday with family and her adoring fiance, Jed, Emily couldn’t be happier. But overnight, the idyllic trip turns into a waking nightmare when one of the group is found dead in what appears to be a terrible accident. The devastated party returns to London to cope with their loss while trying to resume their normal lives. But new revelations shed a shocking light on the holiday tragedy and set Emily on a perilous journey to discover the truth about what happened. Soon a terrifying series of threats and lies bring her face to face with the dark truths at the heart of her family – and into life-threatening danger…
This is the third thriller by McKenzie but she has a host of YA books to her credit—it was the first for me however. Told primarily in first person by Emily, there are one to two page interludes between chapters told first person by 13 year old Dee Dee and a few sections third person towards the end to help us understand what happened.
The background is that our protagonist Emily, aged 33, is engaged to Jed, a 50 year old lawyer in the process if divorcing Dee Dee and Lish’s mother Zoe. Emily is the youngest of three—Rose her oldest sister and brother Martin, brought her up after their parents died when Emily was 11. On a family holiday involving all the above (minus Zoe) and a couple of extras, one of them dies. It quickly becomes a concern that the intended victim may have been our protagonist—and the ex turns up to support that case.
I struggled at the beginning with Emily’s voice—she comes across as way younger than 33 (more like 15). Her rationalisation of Jed’s appalling behaviour was also hard to not be irritated by. But by a third of the way into the book, I acclimatised to Emily—I think the voice does improve significantly so hang in there if you had by problem. I continued throughout to struggle with Dee Dee—yes I got she was 13, but the capitalised emphasis annoyed me. They are only short sections and easy to whiz past.
I also had some problems with the plot—it isn’t psychologically plausible (the Jed related issues are okay); the “almost final” twist just doesn’t ring true, or at least the conversation with the culprit isn’t, and twist before this of the “real” bad guy only just makes it as possible.
However, this is easy reading and a page turner—I read it pretty much in one sitting and certainly wanted to read to find out the ending. It is well paced and there are plenty of twists. If you like domestic thrillers and YA (though this isn’t) then you’ll like this. I picked a lot of the twists but not the actual why/who re the death—and this didn’t in any way distract from me wanting to read it.
My rating 3.5 out of 5