Synopsis via Amazon:
In a remote hunting lodge, deep in the Scottish wilderness, old friends gather for New Year.
The beautiful one
The golden couple
The volatile one
The new parents
The quiet one
The city boy
Not an accident – a murder among friends.
My reading experience:
I would like to thank Netgalley and the publishers for my free ARC.
This was an outside choice for me to read and review but I was feeling like a reading genre stretch and I couldn’t resist the book design.
I quickly realised it was going to be quite chilling – the body (or victim) is presented to the reader immediately so there is no uncertainty about what will happen only who it has happened to. As a reader I felt disconcerted, unnerved – nothing is ever what it seems.
As I continued to read the characters became rounded, fleshed out really rather horrible individuals and I found it impossible to warm to any of them. I think this is what the author intends – how we judge people at first sight, we think we can spot a friend by their clothes or their mannerisms. But we are icebergs. What I could see was a whole lot of counselling required. The most intriguing character from the group of friends was Katie, however both Heather and Doug (the employees) were interesting in that they were both only ‘holding it together’ with a bobby pin and a piece of sticky tape. It took me some time to grasp who the couples were and how they had all become friends – some longer than others – and how they tried to grow yet maintain the old friendships out of some misplaced loyalty. As with some groups like this in reality, they are a simulacrum of friendship who splash themselves over Facebook as the gold standard that other people should feel less than adequate for if they don’t experience the same in their lives. But the thing about looking inwards is that you forget to look around you. You never really know how others not just perceive you, but watch you. Friends usually have invisible threads and often there are hidden connections. Someone once said to me that on entering an environment no one ever looks up, which is a good analogy for this groups’ stay at The Lodge.
I highly recommend this read. I had previously eschewed all psychological thrillers due to their sameness so this was a gem. I enjoyed the exploration of the connections to each other, their lives and their reactions. I was intrigued as to how the chapters on characters were written from their own perspective but sometimes the chapters for Doug were written more objectively. It precipitated thoughts on morals, values, social media, relationships and hot tubs – all good topics for book clubs.
A chilling and compelling read. Thoroughly enjoyable.
Themes: friendship, betrayal, deceit, nostalgia, addiction, obsession