“Finally, finally, people were showing their true faces.”
Rating: 3 stars
This book wasn’t a technical masterpiece, however I did still really enjoy it. It felt a lot like a slasher movie, where 5 teens who are keeping a secret get drawn into a ‘competition’ to win a 50k scholarship that turns out to be a vengeance plot in a very thinly veiled disguise. It’s stupid, but if horror and thriller characters weren’t stupid, we’d never have any books to read! The plot was fairly simple, and I predicted the killer fairly early in the novel but to give credit where it’s due, there was still a twist during the novel that I didn’t expect. While not an Agatha Christie-esque mystery, this book was interesting and fun to read, and when I started it on my work lunch break I found myself thinking about it for the rest of the afternoon.
The first five chapters introduce you to each of the main characters, and the rest of the book is split between different perspectives as the characters explore a creepy house and try to escape. Through this, Pitcher dropped breadcrumbs all the way through that let me start to piece together what happened on the night of the infamous party a year before. When it came to key information reveals, there would be flashback chapters to explain exactly what had happened. I liked this for, for example, the night of the party itself as I wanted to know what had gone down, but in other places this was a little confusing and jarring. There were moments that seemed intended to increase intrigue, that instead made me page back and reread sections to make sure I was understanding what was happening.
The characters themselves were interesting enough. There was a balance of different character types, typical for this type of story, and as each of them was keeping secrets, this made them engaging to read. I particularly enjoyed that every single one of the characters was flawed. It was easy to get drawn into disliking Parker (it’s no spoiler to say that he is the actual Worst), but when you focus on any of the main characters it’s clear that they’re all manipulative and self-serving in different ways, but to me that makes them a little more realistic and fleshed out. Who isn’t a little selfish sometimes?
Overall, I did enjoy this book, and I would recommend it, particularly if you’re looking for a mindless thriller to keep you page-turning. I will probably read more of Pitcher’s writing, but I can’t help but think that a tiny bit of re-organisation would have helped this book. The content was good, just maybe needed to be presented in a less confusing order.
Note: This review was copied verbatim from my Goodreads account dated May 14th 2019.