Tag Archives: #psychologicalthriller

Review: Saint X by Alexis Schaitkin

Saint X by Alexis Schaitkin

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!

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.

Published 25 February 2020 |  Publisher: Pan MacMillan Australia  |  RRP: AUD$29.99

Buy it at: Dymocks |  Booktopia |  A&R  |  Abbey’s  | QBD

My Blurb (2 / 5 stars)

Absolutely loved the cover which would’ve been my primary reason to pick this book up, if not that it was sent to me by the publisher. I didn’t mind the blurb either but I’m not at all keen on psychological thriller. I love mysteries, crimes, thrillers, all of them but psychological thriller is one I’d usually avoid. Then again, the reason I usually avoid them (extramarital affairs etc) is absent here so I might as well give this one a go.

It opens oh so beautifully on a fictional Caribbean island beach where a family of 4 (including a teen daughter) have arrived for a holiday. The scene described was so lush, I fell in love with this spot. Maybe I just really need a holiday. However, other than this beautiful prose, I quickly ran out of patience with the novel.

The main perspective is Claire who was just 8 years old when her sister, Alison, disappeared and later found dead. She is now a young woman and an accidental meeting pushed her into a dark place from which we could not escape for some time. There were just too many parts with bits & pieces of others’ perspectives (those who were either at the island or is connected to Alison). I didn’t think it was that hard to follow the jump in time but at the end of the novel, I really had to question myself…

Saint X is slow; it is like long lazy waves breaking at the beach at which you could practically watch hypnotised all day. I don’t have all day though so it was hard to keep my focus. And I must say that I was rather disappointed with the ending. I felt that all my hard work to read through the novel did not pay off. However, there are those who truly enjoyed this novel too so maybe psychological thriller really is not my cup of tea.

Thanks to Pan MacMillan Australia for copy of book in exchange of honest review

About the author

Alexis Schaitkin’s debut novel, Saint X, is forthcoming from Celadon Books on February 18th, 2020, with seven foreign language editions to follow. Her short stories and essays have appeared in Ecotone, Southwest Review, The Southern Review, The New York Times, and elsewhere. Her fiction has been anthologized in The Best American Short Stories and The Best American Nonrequired Reading. She received her MFA in fiction from the University of Virginia, where she was a Henry Hoyns Fellow. She lives in Williamstown, Massachusetts, with her husband and son.

Find author on:  goodreads  |  website

Review: Girl in the Rearview Mirror by Kelsey Rae Dimberg

Girl in the Rearview Mirror by Kelsey Rae Dimberg

A twisty, page-turning debut thriller from Kelsey Rae DimbergGirl in the Rearview Mirror is a story about privilege and power, family and obligation, ambition and complicity, and the pull of the past on the present; perfect for fans of Jane Harper, Megan Abbott, Attica Locke and Laura Lippman.

Desperate to put her past in the rearview mirror, Finn Hunt leaves the Midwest for Phoenix, Arizona, where no one knows her story.

While she’s working a dead-end job, a chance meeting with Philip Martin, son of a prominent US Senator, leads Finn to a position as nanny for Amabel, his precocious four-year-old daughter. Quickly seduced into the Martins’ privileged world, Finn can almost believe she belongs there, almost forget the dark past that haunts her.

Then, in the stifling heat of a desert summer as the Senator’s re-election looms, a strange woman begins to follow Finn, claiming a connection to Philip and threatening to expose the family to scandal. As Finn tries to protect Amabel, and shield the Martins, she’s inadvertently drawn deeper and deeper into their buried secrets.

The family trusts Finn, for now, but it will only take one mistake for everything she holds dear – the Martins’ world, her new life – to fall apart . . .

Published 25 June 2019 |  Publisher: Pan MacMillan Australia  |  RRP: AUD$29.99

Buy it at: Dymocks |  Booktopia |  A&R |  QBD

My Blurb (3.5 / 5 stars)

The thing about psychological thriller is that the protagonists are most often than not broken. Then, most often than not, they are also the cause of their own downfall. I’m not keen on psychological thriller because it feels like getting onto a train knowing that you’re heading for a trainwreck. The one thing I do appreciate about psychological thrillers are that they are usually very clever. <i>Girl in the Rearview Mirror</i> is one such psychological thrillers.

Finn Hunt thinks she’s almost there. She’s working as nanny to this wealthy couple and her boyfriend works for the child’s grandfather, the Senator. She’s tried very hard to leave her past behind and reach for a better future but all the shine of a wealth does not disguise the chinks in their lives. Even as she continues to polish her new life, another woman walks into it and as Finn’s curiosity drove her onward, she kept chipping at the chinks until they cracked wide open.

Despite Finn’s lies about her past, I do actually liked her. I can understand her longing for a different life even if she’s not going the right way about it so she’s definitely got my sympathy. She was warned so many times to leave well alone but her loyalty to the little girl she loved and the feeling that all is not right, she continued to search for the truth. Courageous, intelligent, generous, and kind -she’s a protagonist I can get behind for.

Set in mid Summer in Phoenix, Arizon, I could definitely feel the heat waves out of the page (oh wait, we’re also experiencing one of the worst Summers ever). The suspense of the mystery kept me enthralled and turning page after page because I really won’t be able to sleep if I don’t finish as I’ll be thinking up one scenario after another. There continues to be twist after twist which were stitched up so seamlessly. <i>Girl in the Rearview Mirror</i> is a riveting suspenseful story that’ll keep you on edge ‘til the end.

Thanks to Pan MacMillan Australia for copy of book in exchange of honest review

About the author

Kelsey Rae Dimberg received an MFA from the University of San Francisco and studied at Barrett Honors College of Arizona State University, where she was editor-in-chief of the literary magazine Lux, and received the Swarthout Award in Fiction. Girl in the Rearview Mirror is her first novel. Born in Seattle, Kelsey has lived in eight states, and currently resides in Milwaukee.

Find Kelsey on:  goodreads  |   twitter  |  facebook  |  instagram