From the number-one best-selling author of Safe House comes a story about friendship, family, secrets, lies, and the things we do for love.
When Claire Cooper was eight, her mother disappeared during Hop-tu-naa, the Manx Halloween. When Claire was 18, she and her friends took part in a Hop-tu-naa dare that went terribly wrong.
Now that she is in her early 20s and a police officer, what happened that Hop-tu-naa night has come back to haunt them all, and Claire must confront her deepest fears in order to stop a killer from striking again.
For fans of Stephen King and Harlan Coben, this is I Know What You Did Last Summer meets The Wicker Man from one of the country's new generation of thriller writers.
"Ewan has become a master storyteller." (Ann Cleeves)
"A rising star of the genre." (Simon Kernick)
"The novel's formula is clever and well executed and his portrayal of the island duly atmospheric." (Marcel Berlins, The Times)
What members say
I found this book shallow and predictable / very disappointing. I also found the narration irritating - far too tense and dramatic.
Dragged down by its format
I suppose the most important thing is that I did finish this. There are surprises through to the end - although a couple are contrived to say the least. The one in the final sentence or two especially so.
MINOR SPOILERS AHEAD
What really makes this a complete mess is the setup. The story is told over a series of October 31s, which could be fine - except it simply doesn't work. For instance, one character waits an entire year to pass on information to another for no reason other than that's the format of the book.
As for the series of killings, well, there's only one person who it could be. Concealing the person's identity throughout the story does little other than to bump up the word count. As a reader, if you stop halfway through and guess who the killer is, you'll get it right.
There are a few other names offered up but none would seem legitimate to a rational human being and because of chapter one (which is a sort of flash-forward), we can already rule them all out.
Not only that, there are chapters where Claire is in danger. Chapters end on cliffhangers where we're supposed to worry for her. Except, because of that flash-forward, we already know she's safe!
Near the end, a character tries to escape but, instead of heading anywhere that might be safe, they go for a lighthouse - a place with one door in and out. Why would that happen? No reason other than it seemed a good setup, I suppose.
There's a lot of good stuff here - but the main story really hasn't been thought through. Characters frequently don't act in a way that any actual person would.
The narrator does a good job but she, too, is bogged down by those alternate POVs from the killer. It could have been better with some serious re-thinking.