One Little Secret by Cate Holahan

3 out of 5 stars

One Little Secret? More like countless big secrets in this domestic thriller by Cate Holahan. 

I picked up this closed-room mystery book during a BookBub special. The story centers around 3 sets of neighbors who ship their kids off to camp and spend a week together in Long Island. Soon after arrival, drama occurs and one of the wives turns up dead on the beach.

At first, the characters seemed so interchangeable, that I had a hard time remembering which spouse went with who. Once I got everyone straight, the story became more compelling. While some parts of the story were predictable, others kept me guessing. As the story unfolded, it was less and less believable that these couples, who seemed more like frenemies, willingly went on vacation together.

Photo by Flash Mama Photography

The subplot with the detective and her family added an interesting dimension to the story. 

Although One Little Secret is not a book that will likely make a lasting impression, it was a great weekend distraction.

The Flight Attendant by Chris Bohjalian

4 out of 5 stars

Cassie Bowden is an alcoholic flight attendant with a history of drunken one-night stands and blackouts. So it’s not surprising when she hooks up with Alex, a handsome passenger she flirted with during most of the flight to Dubai. What is surprising is when she wakes up next to his dead body the next morning, covered in blood and with no memory of what happened.

“Remember that person you wanted to be? There’s still time.”

Chris Bohjalian, The Flight Attendant

This book is a psychological thriller that deals as much with Cassie’s drinking problem, lying, and out-of-control behavior as it does unraveling the mystery of who killed Alex. We witness Cassie making one bad decision after another for 80 percent of this book. 

While Cassie isn’t the most sympathetic character, I found myself pulling for her to get it together. I didn’t totally see the ending coming, which I always appreciate in a thriller.

The Flight Attendant is my first book by Chris Bohjalian. It was compelling enough that I want to look up his other books and see what they are about.

Stranded by Sarah Goodwin

4 out of 5 stars

I pre-ordered Stranded after seeing Twitter connection and Book Blogger Dawn Robinson post about it being one of her top reads this year. I’m so glad I did!

When botanist Maddy loses her parents, the only two people who have ever cared about her, she signs up to live for a year on a remote island with 7 strangers for a reality TV show. The show is similar to Survivor, but with harsher conditions and no competitions. Things start off well enough, but soon, the socially awkward Maddy finds herself outcast by the group.

This book was a fascinating study in human behavior, and all that can go wrong when people are trapped together, fighting for survival, and toxic groupthink ensues. 

The premise grabbed me from the beginning. The book itself built slowly, and then quickly picked up the pace. Once I got to the 40% mark, I literally stayed up all night to finish.

The book is told from Maddy’s perspective, and she is the most likable character among the 8 castaways. I related to her introverted, straightforward nature and thought she was a trustworthy narrator, which made it hard to understand why the others so turned on her. With no competitions or prize winners, the point of the TV show also wasn’t well established. Aside from these minor issues, this was a well-written, absorbing read.

I think this book is one my book club would enjoy. I will most certainly be on the lookout for Sarah Goodwin’s next novel.

Darkness Falls by Robert Bryndza

3 out of 5 stars

In this murder mystery, Kate Marshall and Tristan Harper, two private investigators at Kate’s new agency, work together to find out what happened to Joanna Duncan, a journalist who went missing 12 years prior.

After gaining access to the old case files, Kate uncovers a connection between Joanna and two missing men. While this story was a pretty standard mystery involving a journalist, a politician, and sex scandals, Bryndza includes enough plot twists to keep it unpredictable. I wanted to find out what happened and how the cases were connected.

The book does perpetuate some stereotypes, and I found the ending to be a little chaotic.

Darkness Falls is the third book in a new series by Bryndza. It worked well as a stand alone, although I may have connected better with Kate had I read the first two books in the series.

Overall, the story was entertaining enough that I would be interested in reading other books by this author.

Thank you to Netgalley for providing an ARC of this book in exchange for my honest review.