Fiction, Mystery/Thriller

Kayla reviews HOUSE ON THE WATER

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.


Every year, Caroline Reed takes a trip with her best friend, Esme Lamont. They’re usually accompanied by their spouses—but this year, everything’s changed. Esme has just gone through a bitter divorce, and Caroline is wondering if her own marriage is reaching its breaking point, as she and her husband John cope with the discovery that their nineteen-year-old son has been abusing drugs. Still, the inseparable duo books a week-long stay at a beach-front home in Shoreham, Florida, inviting Esme’s brother, Nick, and his new husband, Ford, in hopes that the additional guests will help lighten the mood.

After a blissful first night in the vacation home, tragedy strikes, and one of the houseguests is found dead. While it’s assumed at first to be a horrific accident, it quickly becomes clear that there’s something more sinister at play, and over the course of this fast-paced, deeply chilling novella, the potential motives of each guest are revealed—until a shocking conclusion is reached.

My Take:

Honestly, the twist was pretty predictable from page one. However, I will argue that what makes this story good isn’t that twist, but the way the author develops the character of Caroline–a flawed heroine for sure–and makes you root for her.

The murder of Esme is an interesting mystery, and the author does a great job of making every character seem suspect even though I was sure who the actual killer was. Ford was probably my favorite character of the group, and I 100% think he figured out what happened and chose to remain silent. Although Esme is a likable character at the beginning, when her secrets are revealed, it becomes quite easy to dislike her and start rooting for the killer a little.

Altogether, this is a good short listen if you enjoy a mystery with well-developed characters all around.

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