Source: DRC via NetGalley (Penguin Group: Putnam)
Pub. Date: Jan 4, 2022
Why did I choose to read this book?
I’m beginning to accept that I’m into mystery/thrillers. I was reading through “most anticipated” lists for 2022, and the description for this one sounded up my alley. I read a lot of family thrillers in 2021, so it was nice to see a friend-type thriller to try instead. A girl’s weekend to die for? Sign me up.
What is notable about the story?
For a mystery story to keep me interested, it has to keep me guessing. The three characters: Diana, Sam, and Margaret, sound pretty clear cut but as the story moves forward all three are not what they seem. As I discovered the secrets of each, the mystery only deepened, keeping me hooked to find out what was going to happen next.
I like that this was a book about female friendships. You see familial bonds in these kinds of stories a lot, but it was refreshing to follow friends through *gestures vaguely* whatever this was. Family and blood relations often add a reason to go on, to persevere; with friends it’s all too easy to say “fuck this, I’m out.” I was honestly surprised to see these women stick with it like they did.
Was anything not so great?
As I was reading the story, excited by Leah Konen’s ability to keep me from figuring things out, I began to worry that the eventual reveal would either be mind blowing or a huge let down. I won’t spoil anything here, but I will say that the first reveal was interesting (not mind-blowing, but good enough) but the final reveal made me groan and wish I hadn’t even started.
Konen asks us to be invested in her characters quickly, and I would argue that this attachment is never fully formed between the characters and the reader. Sam’s backstory with Harry and how they got married is weird and full of red flags. Margaret’s backstory is also weird but with deeper emotions attached. And Diana should have just put up a billboard that read YOU CAN’T TRUST ME YOU DUMB ASS BITCHES! in bright, neon lights. While I didn’t know what was going on, it was plain as day to me that these ladies were in big danger from the jump.
Infidelity abounds in this story, and with Margaret’s resolution in particular I was disappointed. Her repetitive mewling about “I lost the baby, can I ever try again? My husband isn’t who I loved when we first got together, can I ever be with anyone again?” does not register with her instant trust and bonding with Alex. This is especially true given what happened during the big reveal – girl, you need to love yourself before you throw yourself into the arms of anyone else, I don’t care how cute his dog is.
Overall my biggest issue was with the complexity of the deception. The women decide to go on their girl’s weekend and they rent a car, but when the key to the rental is “lost” they completely lose their cool and give up. They all have cell phones, they are in a town, can’t they just call the car rental company and have them send roadside assistance immediately? They have car insurance, yes? Couldn’t they call for roadside assistance from them? I don’t have a lot of patience for stupidity in my characters and the speed with which they get an AirBnB and go crazy at the local bar was all too neat and tidy for me. In the year 2021 you have to be a VERY sheltered person to be in this situation as a woman and not be immediately skeptical of these circumstances.
What’s the verdict?
The in ability of the story to develop meaningful investment in the characters and their well-being, combined with the unbelievable circumstances and the last minute “gotcha!” reveal that has nothing to support it, overwhelmed my excitement at a novel concept and constant guessing and made this one not so great for me. Two stars on Goodreads and I recommend you skip this one in favor of something else already on your TBR list, although if you’d like to try it anyway I’d love to hear if you felt the same way about the book.
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