I am delighted to share my review today for The Cliff House by Chris Brookmyre. This is a tense and fabulously addictive story set on a remote Scottish Island.
My thanks to Little, Brown UK for accepting my request to read this title via NetGalley.
One hen weekend, seven secrets… but only one worth killing for
Jen’s hen party is going to be out of control…
She’s rented a luxury getaway on its own private island. The helicopter won’t be back for seventy-two hours. They are alone. They think.
As well as Jen, there’s the pop diva and the estranged ex-bandmate, the tennis pro and the fashion guru, the embittered ex-sister-in-law and the mouthy future sister-in-law.
It’s a combustible cocktail, one that takes little time to ignite, and in the midst of the drunken chaos, one of them disappears. Then a message tells them that unless someone confesses her terrible secret to the others, their missing friend will be killed.
Problem is, everybody has a secret. And nobody wants to tell.
This was a very intriguing book to read. A group of women goes away together to a Scottish Island for a hen party weekend. This is not a close bunch of women and some don’t know everyone.
The author introduces each of the women and the story is told from their individual perspectives. This makes for a faster-paced story as there is a constant interchanging of characters. When the women first meet up there is some tension, but the bride-to-be, Jen, is hoping that things will settle and any past animosities can be put behind them.
For a while, yes the women seem to hold it together, but then the cocktails soon alter the balance. Oh! and a dead body in the kitchen doesn’t help nor does the delivery of an email to each of them.
I really enjoyed the mystery of this story, yes there is a body, but this isn’t the main story. The story is about the women themselves, the email mentions there being one of the group that isn’t exactly who they say they are. This is actually quite clever, as the synopsis mentions, everyone has a secret!
Having secrets and trying to keep them, or letting them out as much as you dare is one thing, but when they impact those around you as they do in this story, then you need to re-evaluate. I liked how everyone becomes a suspect and while most of the group let some snippets out, not all do. There are some who have a grudge from when they were teens, others have a point to prove and some are definitely not what they appear. This adds to the suspense and the tense energy that surrounds the group.
While this is a crime story as such, I felt it was more of a mystery thriller and the author does gradually bring out the mysteries and secrets of each person. There is also the main question of who actually is responsible for the initial crime and who is the focus of the revenge.
This is a story that keeps twisting the more you read. I do admit that I did work out the who, but that was much later in the book. Up until that point I was flittering between characters and changing my mind.
This really was a fab story, it is addictive, and I do like the locked room feel of the island setting. This is one that like a story with multiple characters and perspectives, has a tense atmosphere and is a riveting read. It is one I would definitely recommend.
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