3.5 stars rounded up to 4
This was a pretty good mystery/thriller that involves two best friends and their summer at a high-end holiday home in a small town in Italy. Emily is a successful author of a cozy mystery series going through a painful and expensive divorce. She has recently recovered from a mysterious illness and is going through a bad case of writer’s block. Her best friend Chess is a successful self-help author and influencer.
In 1974 the home was rented by famous rock star Noel Gordon. He invited an up and coming rocker named Pierce Sheldon, Pierce’s girlfriend Mari and Mari’s stepsister Lara to stay with him. This puts into motion a series of events that culminates with Pierce’s murder, Mari writing one of the world’s greatest horror novels, and Lara composing a platinum album. As Emily starts to dig into the 1974 murder, she starts to think that there is something more to the story. This starts her creative juices flowing, resulting in her writing a story combining elements of the murder, her life and her imagination. But while Emily’s spark of creativity is lit, it seems that Chess’s is diminished. As the summer wears on, secrets and betrayals emerge.
I enjoyed this book. The first 1/3 of the story set up the rest of the book and flowed pretty well. Just as I started to get creeped out and thought the book would get spooky, however, the author pulled back and the story became a typical mystery/thriller. The middle stalled a bit, especially the sections about Emily’s marriage. The last 1/3 of the book was unevenly paced and became predictable when dealing with Emily and Chess’ relationship.
I enjoyed Mari’s story the most, especially the dynamics of the 1974 characters, although even this became repetitive after awhile. I appreciated the twists at the end of the book, which helped raise the book another 1/2 star.
This is a quick and easy mystery read that I recommend you pick up. I received a complimentary copy of this book from NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press. All opinions are my own.
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