Everyone has a secret to keep . . .
Maeve Martin arrives at the High Water Center for the Arts determined to do one thing: launch her own dance company. Time is running out for the former principal dancer and mother of two to find her feet again after the collapse of a disastrous and violent marriage. At first, there’s a thrill to being on her own for the first time in years, isolated in the beauty of a snowy mountain lodge.
But when an avalanche traps the guests inside, tensions run high. Help is coming, so they just have to hold on, don’t they? But as days pass, the other guests are struck down by mysterious deaths, one by one. Now, as she waits in fear, Maeve must admit how little she knows about anyone else . . . and how useless a locked door is if the darkness is already inside.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Being snowbound in the Rockies with a group of strangers is pretty unnerving, particularly when one of them might be a killer. Former dancer and domestic-abuse survivor Maeve Martin is holed up at a mountain inn working on pieces for her dance company. But when a snowstorm traps Maeve and the other guests in the picturesque lodge, people start turning up dead. Elisabeth de Mariaffi gives the classic locked-room mystery a fresh makeover with a strong female lead and plenty of smart, modern touches. (Nobody has to go searching for a flashlight in the age of cell phones!) You can feel the lodge go from cozy to claustrophobic as the guests fend off dangerous wildlife and the unforgiving elements—in addition to the murderer hiding among them. As secrets come out and suspicion grows, you’ll be gripping your device, desperate to know who’ll turn up guilty and who’ll wind up dead. With its chilling and isolated atmosphere, The Retreat is a wonderfully creepy mystery.
Maeve Martin, the heroine of this uneven thriller from de Mariaffi (The Devil You Know), was a modern dancer before having two children with her abusive husband. Now widowed, she leaves the children with her mother and books two weeks at the High Water Center for the Arts, an isolated lodge in the Rocky Mountains, where she'll have uninterrupted time to focus on the dance company she hopes to start. Instead of finding peace, though, Maeve is thrown into a maelstrom after an avalanche cuts off the center's power and communications. Later, filmmaker Anna Barthelmy is found dead in the snow, and Maeve doesn't believe the death was accidental. Maeve gambles that staying behind with the center's director rather than joining the others on the 10-mile trek to the nearest town is her best bet, but danger looms either way. The center's lack of emergency preparation, among other elements, strain credulity, but the final chapters offer genuine suspense. Readers will feel rewarded in the end.