Thursday, August 21, 2014
Stranger at Sunset by Eden Baylee
Reviewed for Minding Spot
Vacation can be a killer.
Dr. Kate Hampton, a respected psychiatrist, gathers with a group of strangers at her favorite travel spot, Sunset Villa in Jamaica. Included in the mix are friends of the owners, a businessman with dubious credentials, and a couple who won the trip from a TV game show.
It is January 2013, following the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. The luxury resort is struggling, not from the storm, but due to a scathing review from caustic travel writer, Matthew Kane. The owners have invited him back with hopes he will pen a more favorable review to restore their reputation.
Even though she is haunted by her own demons, Kate feels compelled to help. She sets out to discover the motivation behind Kane's vitriol. Used to getting what he wants, has the reviewer met his match in Kate? Or has she met hers?
Stranger at Sunset is a slow-burning mystery/thriller as seen through the eyes of different narrators, each with their own murky sense of justice. As Kate's own psychological past begins to unravel, a mysterious stranger at Sunset may be the only one who can save her. (taken from Amazon description)
I delved right into this without reading the description, so in the beginning I was a little confused. We had all these people showing up at a resort. Evidently, the resort had received a bad review and the reviewer was going to be returning and the owners wanted as many friends surrounding them during the reviewer's stay as possible. Well, that's not exactly much of a plot. Right? So, I kept reading. The characters weren't over-the-top amazing, but they were interesting enough. So, for the first half of the book, I just sat back and watched the drama beginning to unfold at this little resort.
My patience paid off. Somewhere in there, we start to see the dark side of the hotel's patrons. It seeps out like light through a tiny door crack, until the door suddenly bursts open and we're struck full force with violence. It's sort of like a slow simmer in the beginning with the differences between the characters and then it just explodes in your face. It's great fun!
For me, I love a good mystery and it's always a challenge to figure it out before the author tells me whodunit. In this book, there really wasn't a lot of opportunity for that. Once the situations turn dark, there are only a few chapters before you find out for sure who did what. Most of this book is about the build up and the leading to the final climax.
On a personal note, the romance in the book was really annoying for me. I didn't find some of the situations believable in the least and I felt like the author used them as a means to an end to receive the ending that she wanted. For me, I just blocked this part out and ignored it. I feel like a little tweaking in this area could have taken this from a good book to a great book.
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