So, this one had made its way onto my TBR shelf.
From the outset, I wasn’t sure if it was going to be my thing, now I’ve read it, I should have trusted my gut, it wasn’t my thing.
I’m pretty sure someone recommended it to me, whoever that was I can only assume they don’t like me very much because I put it down and felt like I’d just wasted six hours of my life reading it.
The book starts twenty years ago when four teenagers – Allie, Sasha, David and Julian – find a gun. When new boy, Kyle, wants to join them, they decide to pull a prank on him and convince him to play Russian roulette as an initiation. They planned to leave the gun unloaded but it goes wrong. The four teenagers never speak again.
In the present day, Allie returns home for David’s funeral and comes face to face with the other two. Allie starts on a mission to find out who loaded the gun twenty years earlier.
Despite my reservations, I did think the plot sounded interesting.
I’m not a fan of slating books, so much hard work goes into them and they are a real labour of love, I persevered with this. The big problem I had with it is that everything – including the kitchen sink – was thrown at it. I’m not exaggerating, there was murder, voyeurism, paedophilia and suicide; that’s a whole lot of issues for one book.
The chapters dedicated to twenty years earlier were the most interesting. Getting to know the teens and what was going on in their lives behind closed doors, I wanted more of this. Instead there was a lot of time spent reading about these kids digging up and burying a gun. I hated Sasha, she was every mean girl in every high school rolled into one, she was almost a caricature, the same can be said for Julian too – they were both vile.
There were some attempts to dig beneath the surface and explore what made each character tick, it just (for me) didn’t go far enough. I kept thinking each time that I was about to get more characterisation but was left frustrated and as a result didn’t care about anyone involved.
The second half of the book where Allie, Sasha and Julian meet again was borderline farcical. Especially as it all takes place over the space of a day, there were multiple murders, it just felt rushed and baffling.
Allie’s husband, Larry, became a bit of joke. How his chapters were written felt childlike, he became irritating, like a yappy little puppy.
I was not convinced by the twist at the end, it felt forced, like the writer was desperate for a surprise, it just didn’t work.
More could have been done with this story, it should have worked. I don’t think it needed to move forward twenty years, it would have worked better had Allie tried to find out the truth or done the right thing earlier. It would have made more sense had it delved deeper into why this group of rich kids acted the way they did. It could have properly explored guilt and atonement. It could have been a better ‘who done it’.
I wanted to like this book, I wanted to be proven wrong, I wanted to be hooked in, I wanted to be gripped. In the end I felt disappointed, annoyed and conned.
I don’t think I’m entirely put off reading other books by Lisa Scottoline, maybe I picked the wrong one to start off with. I do, on occasion, enjoy a thriller if there are any that you’d recommend, let me know in the comments.
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