A very creepy story with lots of great tension!
This is the story of Nora, a twenty something novelist living a rather isolated but fairly contented existence in a studio flat in London. She has her routines: going for a run, checking her emails, researching and writing her crime novels. Her life is regular, rather dull, a bit lonely, but OK, until she is shaken from this by a blast from the past!
She receives an unexpected email from Flo, a stranger claiming to be the maid of honour for Nora’s childhood best friend Clare. She is invited to Clare’s hen do, a weekend in a cottage deep in the Northumberland countryside (in mid-November!). Her reluctance to accept tells the reader that there is something dark in her past she doesn’t want to confront, she hasn’t been in touch with Clare since she was 16. Flo manages to guilt trip Nora into making the journey North by claiming Clare really wants her there.
She arrives at the dark lonely cottage along with three strangers and one other girl she knew from school – and no Clare. The atmosphere isn’t right from the off. The organiser, Flo, seems weirdly desperate for it to go well and be the perfect hen weekend, everyone else seems reluctant to be there almost as if they all have something to hide…
I won’t tell you more as I don’t want to give away any spoilers. The best bit of the novel is the building tension, you know something dramatic is going to happen and when it does it doesn’t disappoint! The only real downside of the novel is that after the big action bit there is a bit of a lull, most readers who have been paying any attention will have worked out the twist by ¾ of the way through (which is good, as a good crime/thriller writer should drop enough clues for the observant reader to work it out) but then it takes soooo long for the characters to catch up that it gets a bit dull towards the end. Overall though a great thriller.