Alice Feeney, the New York Times bestselling Queen of Twists returns…with a family reunion that leads to murder.
After years of avoiding each other, Daisy Darker’s entire family is assembling for Nana’s 80th birthday party in Nana’s crumbling gothic house on a tiny tidal island. Finally back together one last time, when the tide comes in, they will be cut off from the rest of the world for eight hours.
The family arrives, each of them harboring secrets. Then at the stroke of midnight, as a storm rages, Nana is found dead. And an hour later, the next family member follows…
Trapped on an island where someone is killing them one by one, the Darkers must reckon with their present mystery as well as their past secrets, before the tide comes in and all is revealed.
While the dysfunctional family with the terrible secret is a familiar trope, Feeney turns it on its ear here by pairing it with an atmospheric, creepy setting reminiscent of Agatha Christie’s masterwork, And Then There Were None. She does a fantastic job of creating a serious claustrophobic tension that puts every single character on edge. The pre-pub comparisons to Christie’s work helped me guess one of the two big twists, but that did not disrupt my enjoyment of the story. Feeney explores the lifelong consequences of bad decisions and mixes karma with gleeful revenge.
Feeney has a way of peeling back the layers of her characters to reveal the worst. She writes some pretty horrible humans into her books, and gives us a couple of doozies here. (Daisy’s sisters are the worst.) Daisy’s relationship with her sisters reminded me a bit of the Flavia De Luce series by Alan Bradley, except Daisy’s relationship with her sisters is far darker. There’s a lot that’s been written about “unlikable characters” in books, but I think Feeney *wants* us to dislike these characters and, in the end, it doesn’t matter if we like them or not. It’s their actions that started the story and it’s there actions that will end it. None of the action would have been possible if the characters were likable!
Fans of Gillian Flynn and Paula Hawkins will enjoy this dark and twisty mystery. I’ll be recommending this one a lot.
“Wow! Echoes of Christie’s And Then There Were None but turned into something wonderfully original and wrapped in a genuinely creepy dysfunctional family fairy-tale of a novel, this takes Feeney to the next level. I LOVED IT!”
—Sarah Pinborough, bestselling author of Behind Her Eyes and Insomnia
Publication Date: August 30, 2022
Published By: Flatiron Books
Thanks to Netgalley for the review copy