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 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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