“A tense, simmering, fast-paced mystery.”—Megan Miranda, New York Times bestselling author of The Last House Guest and The Girl from Widow Hills
The New York Times bestselling author returns with an unsettling but riveting psychological thriller about a captivating woman who joins a family and threatens to upend their picture-perfect lives.
They had everything they needed for a perfect family vacation: close-knit relatives, a bucolic setting . . . and a murderer in their midst?
Summer’s looking forward to a break from hustling for acting work in Manhattan when she, her husband Gabe, and Gabe’s nine-year-old son arrive at the annual family get-together at her in-laws’ sprawling estate. On the agenda are leisurely gourmet meals, tennis matches, and plenty of relaxation by the pool.
But this year, Gabe’s brother Nick has invited his new flame Hannah, whom Summer immediately recognizes from a few years before. Oddly, her brother-in-law’s girlfriend claims not to know her. Yet she charms the other family members, and after Nick announces that he’s proposed to Hannah, Summer doesn’t have much choice but to grin and bear it.
Then the reunion is rocked by tragedy when a family member is found dead. Though the doctors attribute the loss to natural causes, a grieving Summer fears that the too-good-to-be-true Hannah is involved, even as Gabe dismisses her suspicions.
How far will Summer go to expose the truth? As she investigates just what Nick’s fiancée might have done to keep her perfect image intact, she begins to fear that the first death might only be the beginning . . .
This skillfully constructed page-turner from bestseller White (Have You Seen Me?) opens with actor Summer Keaton heading, along with her husband, Gabe, and her nine-year-old stepson, for Gabe's parents' country home in Bucks County, Pa., for their annual family vacation, where all four Keaton brothers and their partners will be gathering. However, this year the picture-perfect holiday is marred for Summer by the arrival of actor Hannah Kane, the new fiancée of one of Gabe's twin brothers. Summer recognizes Hannah from an acting showcase they both participated in two years earlier, but Hannah denies taking part in it. Why lie about something so innocent? Summer expresses her worry to Gabe, who shrugs off her concerns and suggests that her suspicions might be motivated by envy. When a family member dies of what appears to be a heart attack, only Summer believes the death to be murder. Then someone else dies, and the perfect Keaton clan's facade starts to crumble, revealing devastating secrets and lies. Expert pacing, characters readers can love to hate, and an intelligent heroine make this a winner. White consistently entertains.
This book has me hooked the whole time and the ending was something I did not expect!
Uninteresting Main Character
The book wasn’t horrible, but I also wasn’t excited to continue reading it. The main reason is that the main character in book was difficult to understand—she wasn’t given much depth, background or color. She came across as very bland and flat, so it was hard to like her or even relate or understand her motivations. So when the “action” starts and she begins obsessing over the fiancé, she becomes quite annoying. VERY annoying actually. The whole construct is just weird, too. Like a bad version of an Agatha Christy. Why is an actress—not even a good actress—trying to solve a murder on her own? Clearly she’s not cut out for detective work since she had it all wrong. Overall the story just felt contrived and boring. Yet I did read the whole thing. So there’s that.
Lots of words, little plot
After reading another Kate White, I was looking forward to this one. It had an intriguing storyline and setting. I appreciated how sensory and descriptive it is, but found myself rather bored.
There are way too many details and scenes that don’t add to character development, plot, or mood. A hundred pages could’ve been summed up in a few paragraphs. The readers don’t need a day by day, moment by moment of vacation minutia.
As far as Summer’s character goes, I found myself super annoyed with her conclusions jumping, her fixation on Hannah, the repetition of nonsensical “facts” in her head, and her constant gossiping to any listening ear when when she should’ve been seeking help from authorities. She doesn’t need to know everything her husband does or says, but she acts like he’s betraying her. And she would automatically think absurd things like, “this person is the murder because they were angry at someone else” etc. I felt like the reader was supposed to sympathize with her, but instead it was easy to side with Gabe, who was irritated with her behavior.
Another annoyance is the family vacation itself. I don’t know of any families who spend their vacation on one property making appointments with each other, when to meet and where, and hurrying off to see their spouses in the other room. I think if there was more background into why the family was so structured, it could’ve made sense.
The end was a little predictable with a little plot twist you kind of see coming, but it’s hard to believe who the the real killer is based on their actions and character.
Overall a so-so book, I’d give it 2-1/2 stars.