Monday, 26 August 2019

The Retreat by Sherri Smith (Thriller, 10E/10E)

 13th August 2019, Titan Books, 432 pages, Paperback, Review copy

Summary from Titan Books
Katie Manning was a beloved child star until her mid-teens when her manager attacked and permanently scarred her face, effectively ending her career and sending her on a path of all-too-familiar post-Hollywood self-destruction.

Now twenty-seven, Katie wants a better answer to those clickbait “Where Are They Now?” articles that float around online. An answer she hopes to find when her brother’s too-good-to-be-true fiancée invites her to a wellness retreat upstate. Together with Katie’s two best friends—one struggling with crippling debt and family obligations, one running away from a failed job and relationship—Katie will try to find the inner peace promised at the tranquil retreat. But finding oneself just might drudge up more memories than Katie is prepared to deal with.

Each woman has come to the retreat for different reasons. Each has her secrets to hide. And at the end of this weekend, only one will be left standing.

Nayu's thoughts
Child stars going wild sadly isn't anything new, but what piqued my interest apart from it being a thriller and most of the cast dying by the end of the book was the horrendous treatment Katie had from her manager. That was absolutely appalling, and I felt sorry for her, as no one should ever have to suffer that. 

Katie's tale, like all thrillers, is full of many tense moments that make me thankful I could read it in one sitting without being interrupted. As the book gathers for the grand finale surprises pop up everywhere. There's also a lot of humour in this one. Katie really doesn't like her brother's fiancee. Her thoughts towards the woman made me smile, and I did feel sorry that Katie was kind of forced to be with her, but the fact she was with her friends made that a bit easier to bear, some of the time at least. Each woman is distinct in character, although I did prefer Katie the most. I honestly understood to some degree why the murderer did what they did - there were times where I got frustrated with how Katie & co acted. They did wind each other up a bit, and only had an occasional bonding moment. Mostly I couldn't believe how stupid Katie's friend with debt was: I knew from the outset her grand plan would cause great trouble. I am not a rocket scientist but there are certain jobs, for lack of a better word without spoiling the plot, that are insanely risky and not worth the risk. 

I had great fun trying to figure out who would survive, and who the murderer was. I don't think I did work it out before the big reveal, there was so much double-crossing and subterfuge I didn't have the head space to debate who hated the women the most. That retreat certainly was full of home truths and misfortune which should have capital letters for the impact they had on the story. It will be a while before I reread it, but I am already excited to pick up the hints about the murderer from the beginning, and to shake my head at the idiotic decisions made. People rarely seem to think straight when in a crisis in books! it is like watching a comedic horror movie when you know that opening the front door will get the character killed. 

Find out more on Sherri's website.

Suggested read 
For a thriller with a bit less humour but lots of thrills check out The Room by the Lake by Emma Dibdi (Thriller, 9/10E) 

No comments: