Pushed to breaking point, Cara Burrows abandons her home and family and escapes to a five-star spa resort she can’t afford. Late at night, exhausted and desperate, she lets herself into her hotel room and is shocked to find it already occupied – by a man and a teenage girl.
A simple mistake on the part of the hotel receptionist – but Cara’s fear intensifies when she works out that the girl she saw alive and well in the hotel room is someone she can’t possibly have seen: the most famous murder victim in the country, Melody Chapa, whose parents are serving life sentences for her murder.
Cara doesn’t know what to trust: everything she’s read and heard about the case, or the evidence of her own eyes. Did she really see Melody? And is she prepared to ask herself that question and answer it honestly if it means risking her own life?
Yikes. This was bad, really bad. This started off as a buddy read with my reading pal Nicki @ The Secret Library, but she couldn’t even finish this one… and I don’t blame her!
Prepare yourselves for a very harsh review.
First off, let’s talk characters. Cara, our main character, has run away from home for a pathetically trivial reason, and not only that, has spent 1/3 of her families life savings to get away. She was an irritating, whingy character who talked to herself too much. Enough said.
Next, Tarin Fry. Biggest bitch in the world, and not in a sassy way… she was just a bitch. She didn’t speak her mind, she just spewed abuse at / about people.
Who next? How about Bonnie Juno. Awful name for an awful character. Another abuse spewer. In another life, Bonnie’s character could have been a strong female character who would have been likeable and someone to root for, but she isn’t. Not in the slightest.
Then we have a whole mash of random characters who were only half relevant in my mind. Riyonna Briggs, annoyingly happy and needy. Orson (was that his name?) Priddey, whingy and weak-willed, for a cop. Heidi whatever-her-name-was, waste of ink.
As for the story, I have mixed opinions. Firstly, if you are going to put yourself through this, skip the first 30% of it. It one long description of a 5 star hotel and spa. I’m not even kidding. Then the story picks up a little bit and there is some mystery to the story (finally!) but then thing get weird and we begin reading tedious interviews surrounding Melody’s case rather than present day stuff. Towards the end, things just got really ridiculous and unbelievable that I began skim reading the story, just to get the important “twisty” bits.
Although the book began badly, things did start picking up nearer the middle of the book, and for a while I thought I was actually enjoying it. The story of Melody was an interesting one and I liked following the theories on who killed her. But then, as I said before, things got ridiculous.
For example, the people discussing the case, and trying to solve the thing, consisted of Bonnie Juno, her assistant, 2 police detectives, Tarin Fry and the hotel manager. AS IF the police would just let civilians sit around the table with them to discuss a case, and more to the point, let a random member of the public (Tarin Fry) basically run the entire show by bossing everyone around. This then happens again at the end where things are coming together and really important police stuff is happening, even the FBI are involved at this point. They just let these random people sit in on the conversation like it’s not a hugely important case to find a girl who’s been believed dead for years and years.
The twist(s?) in this story were dulled down by the time they came around. I just wasn’t interested anymore and they didn’t do enough to bring me back to liking the book. I had guessed a couple of the reveals, but not all of them, but even that didn’t entertain me.
Writing? Well, it was nothing special. Not bad, but not great. At some points it felt like Hannah was talking down to us, repeating very simple things like the reader didn’t get it the first time… and I mean very simple things... like “the door was unlocked. That meant he had forgot to lock the door before he left”. Yeah, no shit.
This book was a huge fail for me and I wish I had given it up early on like Nicki did!
You might be thinking “but why give it 2 stars if you hated it so much? why not one star?”… well, I don’t really get 1 star book reviews… if you hated it that much would you not just have put it down? I didn’t put this one down so something about it kept me going… but that being said, my two star rating is practically a one star rating.
Thanks to Netgalley and Hodder & Stoughton for giving me the opportunity to read this in exchange for an honest review.