Lucas Jarrett is handsome, powerful, and very wealthy. He has always been a ‘leader’ and his friends want to stay within his charismatic orbit. Since they were all in their early teens the group have been ‘friends’. Now, as adults they have been invited to Lucas’s wedding at his beautiful seaside Cornish home named Polskirrin. The assembled guests are treated royally with an endless supply of wonderful food and drink in luxurious surroundings. Yet… on the morning of the lavish wedding a tragedy occurs. Alex, the younger half-sister of the groom, is found dead on the beach below the sumptuous home.Due mostly to a video that Alex has left, her death is ruled a suicide. But… although the police pathologist and the inquest have ruled her passing as suicidal, her brother Lucas thinks that she was murdered.
Now, on the anniversary of her death, Lucas has invited the wedding party back to the house where he is hosting an intricately planned “Murder Game” that he thinks will reveal his sister’s killer. The assemblage is uncomfortable when they learn of his plans. At least one of them is afraid…
Jemma and Matt Hudson were happily married right up until the night Alex died. Now, a year later, they rarely speak, and even more rarely make love. Their marriage might very well be in its death throes. This visit to Cornwall will test their relationship for once and for all.
Meanwhile, Sergeant Stephanie King who attended Alex’s death a year ago, is called back to Polskirrin regarding a missing person who was said to have been last seen that very same fateful night one year ago.
This is my first Rachel Abbott book and what a delightful introduction to her work! Although it is the second novel to feature Cornish policewoman Stephanie King, it read just perfectly as a stand-alone. Though some might consider it to be a police procedural, the police actually took the back seat in this story. They were present, but the group of friends were under the spotlight more than the police investigation.
The premise was very clever and the characters intriguing. The ‘friend‘ dynamic seems to cover up lots of enigmatic secrets, power-plays, and precarious loyalties. The writing kept me riveted throughout. I’ll admit I did guess one major plot twist about halfway through the novel, but that in no way marred my reading enjoyment.
In addition to the overriding theme of friendship, the novel also touches on blackmail, murder and abduction.
Would I read another Rachel Abbott book? Hell YES! I cannot imagine what took me so long to discover this great crime novelist!
This review was written voluntarily and my rating was in no way influenced by the fact that I received a complimentary digital copy of this novel from Bookouture via NetGalley.
ISBN: 9781838886677 ASIN: B085RXPY67 374 pages
Although I was gifted a digital copy of the North American version, I must confess that I prefer both the cover and the title of the UK version.
Rachel Abbott was born just outside Manchester, England, and spent most of her working life as the Managing Director of an interactive media company. After her company was sold in 2000, she fulfilled a lifelong ambition of buying and restoring a property in Italy. She now splits her time between homes in Italy and Alderney (), where she writes full time and has just completed her eleventh novel.