Another for the #allthebookreviews duo!
Thanks to St. Martin’s Press for the free copies in exchange for our honest reviews
RECKLESS GIRLS – Rachel Hawkins (Released January 4th, 2022)
From the New York Times bestselling author of The Wife Upstairs comes a deliciously wicked gothic suspense, set on an isolated Pacific island with a dark history, for fans of Lucy Foley and Ruth Ware.
When Lux McAllister and her boyfriend, Nico, are hired to sail two women to a remote island in the South Pacific, it seems like the opportunity of a lifetime. Stuck in a dead-end job in Hawaii, and longing to travel the world after a family tragedy, Lux is eager to climb on board The Susannah and set out on an adventure. She’s also quick to bond with their passengers, college best friends Brittany and Amma. The two women say they want to travel off the beaten path. But like Lux, they may have other reasons to be seeking an escape.
Shimmering on the horizon after days at sea, Meroe Island is every bit the paradise the foursome expects, despite a mysterious history of shipwrecks, cannibalism, and even rumors of murder. But what they don’t expect is to discover another boat already anchored off Meroe’s sandy beaches. The owners of the Azure Sky, Jake and Eliza, are a true golden couple: gorgeous, laidback, and if their sleek catamaran and well-stocked bar are any indication, rich. Now a party of six, the new friends settle in to experience life on an exotic island, and the serenity of being completely off the grid. Lux hasn’t felt like she truly belonged anywhere in years, yet here on Meroe, with these fellow free spirits, she finally has a sense of peace.
But with the arrival of a skeevy stranger sailing alone in pursuit of a darker kind of good time, the balance of the group is disrupted. Soon, cracks begin to emerge: it seems that Brittany and Amma haven’t been completely honest with Lux about their pasts––and perhaps not even with each other. And though Jake and Eliza seem like the perfect pair, the rocky history of their relationship begins to resurface, and their reasons for sailing to Meroe might not be as innocent as they first appeared.
When it becomes clear that the group is even more cut off from civilization than they initially thought, it starts to feel like the island itself is closing in on them. And when one person goes missing, and another turns up dead, Lux begins to wonder if any of them are going to make it off the island alive.
Chandra’s Thoughts: 3/5 stars
Color me tan and pour me all the wine – Oh, Susannah – don’t you cry for me Meroe Island! Do I sound messy… well, welcome to last fourth of this binge popcorn thriller of a read. POP POP!
My second Hawkins read and, even if this one didn’t quite do it for me as well as The Wife Upstairs did, I can plainly say that I will always pick up Hawkins. Always. There’s just something about her writing style that just pulls me right in. The obsessive need to know what’s going to happen next. The moderate to quick pacing with short chapters – I mean, once you pop, you just can’t stop! 4 people head to what is supposed to be an isolated island, clear of people and only full of history and potential creepiness set in a gorgeous beach with much to explore. But, to their disappointment, two other people are already on there. Things escalate when a seventh person shows up later and then right towards the end, we take a sharp turn left at Albuquerque.
I really enjoyed the “locked island” feel of this thriller. Getting to know each character and their backgrounds was educational and you find yourself not rooting for any of them… and yet, I was also extremely fascinated with them. Just taking off on a whim, taking chances, falling so easily in love and friendship. The creepy, suspenseful feel was engaging and I loved the tone. There were even a surprise or two that I don’t know how I didn’t see coming but I do love it when that happens. But allllll of this leading up to an end I just couldn’t compute? And an epilogue that was unnecessary and all too often done. A solid 4 star for me right up until this ending. One of the rare times I think I would’ve preferred an ambiguous ending.
My Thoughts: 3.5/5 stars
A stunning cover for a fun little binge read thriller! I haven’t picked up Hawkins’ other book yet but after reading RECKLESS GIRLS I’ll have to bump it up the TBR for the year. This has all the qualities of a locked room thriller but it’s on a shored boat and an abandoned island instead.
This was a pretty quick one overall but I feel like the pacing might be a little on the slow burn side for some thriller fans. I’m a little confused as to why the synopsis calls it gothic suspense because I wasn’t getting that vibe at all. I would consider this more of a popcorn thriller, just super quick to get through and plenty going on to keep your attention.
Plenty of drama, twists, and all on a remote island with a dark past – because what kind of abandoned island would it be if there wasn’t some dark history behind it? The mix of characters all have their own secrets and all is slowly revealed while quickly jumping between POVs. A solid introduction to the author for me and I’ll be looking for more in the future. All in all, a good start to the year!