July 27, 2020

Final Cut by S.J. Watson

Harper | August 2020 | 368 pgs 
Source: Publisher via Edelweiss 


Final Cut is a psychological thriller that explores themes such as identity and memory.   

Alex is a young documentary filmmaker on her way to a quiet fishing village in Blackwood Bay to shoot a new film. Her assignment is simple as all she needs is to have the residents to record and tell their own stories; more like an observation of the residents' life and the little things happening around them. Blackwood Bay may look like a quaint village at first glance, but actually there were a few unfortunate incidents that happened ten years ago -- a girl who committed suicide and another two girls went missing. Alex knew about them; after all she knew these girls after having lived there since she was young. She intends to find out more about the mystery behind these girls' fate, though her appearance and her work at Blackwood Bay have already put tension and raise suspicions in the town which is already on edge. 

But, there's also some backstory about Alex's past which the reader will find out as the story progresses, like her dissociative amnesia and how her partial returning memories will impact on her findings and have the reader question about her credibility as well as the people surrounding her. What really happened to those girls ten years ago and why is Alex still drawn to the village despite the things that happened there? 

Final Cut has a great premise and in exploring the character's traumatised mind and the consequences that follow especially since her findings involve assumptions and snippets of her returning memory, which may or may not reliable, thus enabling her an unreliable narrator in the process. While there's much potential and intrigue in the premise and the beginning of the story initially, the storyline fell flat towards the middle and from there it became repetitive as Alex seemed to be doing the same thing and kept asking questions which no one knew (or were willing) to tell her. With not much resolution in sight, it lost its intensity and momentum and while the pace picked up in the last few chapters, my interest had waned and the ending was meh to me. Overall, I loved the first half of the story, but the other half was simply disappointing. 


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14 comments:

  1. Thank you for the review. A new book for me.

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    1. Mystica - It's always a joy to explore new-to-me authors, isn't it? :)

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  2. I've read another book by this author - Before I Go To Sleep - and liked that one well enough. However, I don't think I'll rush to read this one. Thanks for telling about it, Melody.

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    1. Kay - I've yet to read "Before I Go to Sleep" but I've heard many good things about it. Will have to add that onto my wishlist.

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  3. Enjoying the first half, but being disappointed by the second is such a shame. I really hate being let down after a good beginning.

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    1. Jenclair - It has a great premise, but regrettably it failed to keep my attention after the first half. That said, I'll be curious to hear what other readers think about it, though.

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  4. This one sounded so good! I'm sad that it lags in the middle, and disappoints at the end. That's too bad. :(

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    1. Lark - It was a pity. Hopefully the next book will be better!

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  5. I'm sorry this fell flat, that's too bad. I enjoy a good psychological thriller. Hope the next one is better!

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    1. Naida - This is my first book by this author but I'm definitely intrigued by the other book "Before I Go to Sleep" so hopefully it'd be a better one.

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  6. I am sorry this one didn't live up to the promising beginning. I am drawn to books that touch on how past trauma impacts a person, and dissociative amnesia is always an interesting tool to use in a novel. It's too bad this one turned out to be disappointing.

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    1. Wendy - I agree with you that dissociative amnesia or anything about mental condition is always an interesting tool in a storyline. If only the second half of the story was as good as the first; perhaps there are other readers who like it better than me.

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  7. What a bummer that this one was not one of Watson's better books. I'm on a bit of a break from psychological thrillers. I really enjoy them but think I read too many at once! I'm sure I'll go back to them soon though.

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    1. Iliana - I know what you mean about reading too many of the same genre at once. Hopefully you'll get back to reading psychological thrillers soon. :)

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