My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Time taken to read - 2 days
Pages - 384
Publisher - Michael Joseph Books
Source - Friend
Blurb from Goodreads
In this locked room, high‑concept thriller that's part The Guest List, part The Girl Before, a couple's romantic weekend‑getaway is not what it seems.
When Ellie and her boyfriend Steven take their first trip together, what starts as an idyllic weekend soon takes a darker turn, as it quickly becomes apparent that each of them harbors secrets—and that one of those secrets is deadly.
Ellie is an NYU grad student, timid but fiercely intelligent, and eager for the perfect weekend away with her boyfriend. Steven is a wealthy and privileged teacher at an elite Manhattan school. His and Ellie's relationship has stirred up envy among the teachers in his academic circle.
When they head out for their romantic break, they're both excited to get to know each other better away from prying eyes. But when a snowstorm strands them in the house, they begin to realize that neither of them is quite who they say they are—and that one of them won't escape the weekend alive.
Ooooh the opening chapter definitely draws you in with intrigue as the police enter a scene of mayhem, blood, broken carnage around the house, what happened? We flip between chapters titled Ellie, Steven and dates were a story starts to emerge. Ellie and Steven are going on holiday to this far out deserted house, just the two of them, romantic time. They become stranded and both of them are not quite what they seem and the readers get to know a bit more about each as the chapters tease out the details. And things turn dark!
Steven is a college teacher and Ellie is his student and girlfriend of six months, Steve is an unlikeable controlling older man. Ellie is the younger girlfriend, innocent, quiet, meek and manipulated by Steven, he likes his girls a certain way, type, behaviour, his ideals, beliefs and very questionable behaviour.
The tag line was "introducing 2022's most f*cked up couple" and they weren't wrong. The pace isn't neck breaking but you are engaged from the prologue and wanting to know what they are hiding. Toxic is one way of putting it and I was intrigued to the dated diary style entries - clearly damaged, devastated and in love but who is the writer?
Some of the details/passages are pretty horrific, if you have ever been in a toxic relationship the book is likely to stir some hard hitting emotions. #Metoo movement has strongly influenced this story and we get a unique view point of a perpetrator, a victim and a survivor but with a unique spin to it.
Creepy, shocking, stomach turning, tense - a psychological thriller that turns in ways the reader won't predict, well I didn't and aghast at what was happening but unable to put it down long because I needed to know where it was going next, 4/5 for me!