The Chalet Review

The Chalet Review | Catherine Cooper

I thought I’d return with a mystery this time! I thought this was going to be really predictable, but it certainly caught me out. The mystery was good, but it was hard to connect to the characters. Here’s my The Chalet review by Catherine Cooper.

Publisher: HarperCollins | Date: 2019 | Genre: Mystery

Plot: Four friends. One luxury getaway. The perfect murder.

French Alps, 1998

Two young men ski into a blizzard… but only one returns.

20 years later

Four people connected to the missing man find themselves in that same resort. Each has a secret. Two may have blood on their hands. One is a killer-in-waiting.

Someone knows what really happened that day.

And somebody will pay.

I received The Chalet from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

The Chalet Review

The Chalet Review

The Chalet is the type of book to curl up with on a wet Sunday afternoon. It didn’t wow me, didn’t grip me and I found it difficult to connect to the characters. But I wanted to see it through, and it threw me off more than once, coming to a satisfying conclusion.

The premise is straightforward: years after a man goes missing, presumed dead in treacherous conditions on a mountain, a group of people come together at the same place for a holiday. But as events unfold, it becomes clear there are connections to the deceased – and more secrets than any one character knows what to do with.

The mis-direction and split between timelines could have made this an engaging read. But I didn’t like any of the characters. Ria is shallow, over-emotional and self-centred. Although you learn why, it’s hard to like her when she dismisses anyone who tries to get close to her. Her emotions are fake, and being privy to that means she becomes annoying.

While Hugo has feelings and a personality, none of the other men have redeeming qualities. Cameron, Simon and Adam are all egotistic and treat the women around them with disdain. You didn’t care what happened to any of them and any mishaps that befell them felt well deserved.

A final character – unnamed to avoid any spoilers – has the most depth. But it’s initially unclear how they fit into the main story, again making it hard to feel any attachment to someone when you’re not sure who they are. There’s no connection!

I pull a face. “Um, no. I’m flattered that you think I’m so powerful, but I can’t compete with the worst snowstorm they’ve seen in twenty-odd years.”

The Chalet by Catherine Cooper

Three plots make up the timeline: the past from 20 years ago, the past catching up to the present, and events as they unfold. It helped keep the pace moving as events slot together, and makes you question if everyone is who they say they are.

There were certain things I guessed. But there is a clever mis-direction that meant I was on the wrong track for most of it. It’s the reveal that stopped me from getting bored – it’s enough of a hook at the right moment to keep you reading. You want to know what happens, but not because you care.

The Chalet lacked tension. The difficulty connecting to characters undermined any attempts to increase the stakes because it didn’t matter what the outcome was. Individual incidents scattered throughout – the wife monetarily disappearing, for example – didn’t work to heighten either the mystery or the sense something was wrong.

I’m struggling writing this review. This is not a bad book: it’s relatively short and it intrigued me about how events would play out. It’s a solid escape for a while if you want to pass the time. It just didn’t touch me on an emotional level – either good or bad – which makes it difficult to sum up how I feel. I’d recommend The Chalet if you need a quick book to read. The intrigue is there but the characters and tension is flat. As mysteries go, it falls short.

Are you into mysteries? Will they hold your attention if you don’t like the characters?

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25 thoughts on “The Chalet Review | Catherine Cooper

  1. Oh no, there is nothing worse when you are reading a book that you don’t particularly like but you have to find out what happens. I did see this book when I was looking for something to read so I will think twice about buying it.


  2. I feel like there’s been a bit of a wave of the “guests at a location and one of them gets murdered” theme of books lately. I read The Hunting Party this year which was like that and I have like 3 others on my shelf which have a similar premise and tbh, all the ones I’ve read have been a bit meh. I find there always tends to be too many characters!


  3. Oh no, it’s a shame to hear that you didn’t enjoy this as much as you would have liked as the premise does sound kind of interesting!

    I definitely need to at least connect with one of the main characters in order to enjoy a book. They don’t have to be likeable for me but there needs to be some kind of emotional connection.


    • It wasn’t by any means a bad book, you know, it just didn’t really do anything for me either. There’s so many mysteries out there now you’ve really got to connect.


  4. Great review! I initially had this book on my radar, but I’ve seen several reviews similar to yours that speak to disappointment. Thanks for sharing.


  5. I know exactly what you mean about keeping reading because you want to know but not because you care, that’s so well phrased. It’s a shame the book fell short of what you were hoping for but thank you for being so honest, this was a really good review x


  6. It’s a shame that the book wasn’t really gripping or had much tension. I would probably want to keep reading too to find out what happened, but the characters don’t sound too great either. It sounds like it could be a really interesting and tense read with the plot but sounds like it didn’t quite get there! x


  7. It always sucks when you don’t like the characters! Sometimes it works, for well-written villains or something, but when I really hate characters or they have too many flaws I really struggle to stay interested in the book! It’s a shame this one didn’t work out for you.

    Anika |


  8. The premise of this book is one that needs tension, and it is always a shame when a good premise is not executed as well as it could be. The closest I can come to a good book built along the same premise as this is Ten Little Indians by Agatha Christie. It is artful and terrifying.

    Thanks for sharing; I always love how honest your reviews are!


  9. I love mysteries but I do usually need to be invested in at least one character to fully see it through. I hate that situation where you’re not massively into it but want to see it through to find out what happens. It’s a shame that this one is lacking x



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