Review By Kayleigh

This is a wild ride from the very first chapter: sex, lies, money, DNA kits? I’m in. 

Favourite Quote:

How had she not seen this layer before? Because she was blind when it came to her brother willfully blind. Always had been. She wanted so badly for them all to be close, for that fantasy she had about their future to be true.

Goodreads Synopsis: 

What could be more restful, more restorative, than a weekend getaway with family and friends? An isolated luxury cabin in the woods, complete with spectacular views, a hot tub and a personal chef. Hannah’s loving and generous tech-mogul brother found the listing online. The reviews are stellar. It’s his birthday gift to Hannah and includes their spouses and another couple. The six friends need this trip with good food, good company and lots of R & R, far from the chatter and pressures of modern life.

But the dreamy weekend is about to turn into a nightmare. A deadly storm is brewing. The rental host seems just a little too present. The personal chef reveals that their beautiful house has a spine-tingling history. And the friends have their own complicated past, with secrets that run blood deep. How well does Hannah know her brother, her own husband? Can she trust her best friend? And who is the new boyfriend, crashing their party? Meanwhile, someone is determined to ruin the weekend, looking to exact a payback for deeds long buried. Who is the stranger among them?

Lisa Unger is back with a fast paced thriller filled with big personalities and even bigger secrets. I enjoyed this book so much. It has multiple storylines and character points of view which kept me reading late through the night (even if I did get confused a time or two). Our main character is Hannah: she’s got a storybook marriage, is a new mom and tries to always support her wildly successful and wealthy younger brother who’s tech company may not be as golden as it seems. The book starts with a Christmas dinner, where someone in Hannah’s family has anonymously gifted everyone DNA kits. No one seems enthused about this gift. Liza, Hannah’s sister in law actually throws hers in the garbage. I was instantly intrigued with the tension in the family: Hannah’s parents have some serious issues, Hannah may have some anxiety and postpartum issues, her husband Bruce seems to be keeping a secret, her younger brother, Michael (whom everyone calls Mako) the perfect tech entrepreneur and his perfect yoga instructor wife, Liza. Hannah’s been cleaning up after Mako for years and she’s starting to get tired of his antics. 

Everything comes to a head when Mako and Liza take Bruce and Hannah and family friend Cricket to a lavish but remote cabin in Georgia, USA that summer as a thank you for all their support. Let’s just say this dream cabin is more of a nightmare mirage. 

Throughout the action of Hannah and her group getting to the cabin, where a storm rolls in, cutting them off from the rest of civilization, chapters are interspersed from a seemingly different story line about a man who’s mother is murdered when he’s young. When Liza, who has her own dark secrets, is discovered missing as the storm hits, the action goes into overdrive. Someone wants to hurt the group, and Hannah isn’t sure she can trust anyone. I loved this cast of highly secretive people: there are some unlikable characters here who’s storylines intertwined in an interesting manner. 

While I expected this to be a standard locked room type mystery, the addition of the other storyline and the DNA testing adds a whole new dimension to the book. What makes a family? Unger asks. Is it shared genes? A shared childhood? Or can you make your own family? And, of course, how far will you go to protect your family?

This was a fascinating read that mixes beloved mystery tropes with a feisty main character and an intriguing modern day mystery.  

Thank you Park Row Books for the ARC in return for an honest review