'Part "true-crime" thriller and part coming-of-age novel... Saint X is irresistibly suspenseful and canny.' Joyce Carol Oates
Claire is only seven years old when her college-age sister Alison vanishes from the luxury resort on the Caribbean island of Saint X on the last night of her family's vacation. Several days later Alison's naked body is found in a remote spot on a nearby cay, and two local men, employees at the resort, are arrested. But the evidence is slim, the timeline against it, and the men are soon released. It's national tabloid news, a lurid mystery that will go unsolved, but for Claire's family there is only the sad return home to broken lives.
Years later, riding in a New York City taxicab, Claire recognizes the name on the cabbie's licence, Clive Richardson - her driver is one of the men originally suspected of murdering her sister. The fateful encounter sets her on an obsessive pursuit of the truth, not only what happened on the night of Alison's death, but the no less elusive question of exactly who was this sister she was barely old enough to know: a beautiful, changeable, provocative girl of eighteen at a turbulent moment of identity formation. As Claire doggedly shadows Clive, hoping to gain his trust, waiting for the slip that will uncover the truth, an unlikely intimacy develops between them, two people whose lives were forever marked by a tragedy.
Alexis Schaitkin's Saint X is a flawlessly drawn and deeply moving story that hurtles to a devastating end.
Recommended by Entertainment Weekly, included in Good Morning America's 20 Books We're Excited for in 2020 & named as one of Vogue's Best Books to Read This Winter, Bustle's Most Anticipated Books of February 2020, and O Magazine's 14 of the Best Books to Read This February!
PRAISE FOR SAINT X
'This killer debut is both a thriller with a vivid setting and an insightful study of race, class, and obsession.' Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
'Mystery fans will appreciate this engrossing read' Vogue, Best Books to Read This Winter
'Reminiscent of some of the sharp observations and language that made Gone Girl a success, Saint X will keep you up all night and haunt you for days after.' Sarah Gelman, Amazon Book Review (Featured Debut of the Month)
Schaitkin's unsettling debut plays with the conventions of the romantic thriller to comment on the uneasy relationship between working-class residents of a fictional island in the Caribbean and the wealthy American tourists who visit it. In 1995, a couple from a New York City suburb and their two daughters, adventurous college freshman Alison and cautious seven-year-old Claire, visit a resort on the island. Alison flirts with two workers at the resort, Clive and Edwin, and takes off with them nightly without her parents' knowledge to visit a local club, where she dances, drinks, and gets high. One night, she doesn't return, and her body is soon found on a nearby island. Though suspicion falls on Clive and Edwin, they are not charged with any crime. In present-day N.Y.C., Claire, who narrates much of the novel, recognizes Clive, now a cab driver, from the back seat of his taxi. Obsessed with learning what happened to Alison, she stalks him while neglecting her work and friends. As Claire embeds herself in Clive's life, he grows increasingly wary, until he finally snaps and reveals what he knows about the final night of Alison's life. As the novel gradually shifts to Clive's point of view, Schaitkin subverts the other characters' assumptions about the lives and intentions of strangers. This is a smart page-turner, both thought-provoking and effortlessly entertaining.)