St. Martin's Press | 4 January 2022 | 320 pgs
In a nutshell, Reckless Girls is a locked-room mystery set in an isolated island. I've always been a fan of locked-room mysteries and having read the author's previous novel, The Wife Upstairs, I've high expectations of this book but regrettably, it left me feeling a bit disappointed.
Meroe Island is located in the middle of Pacific Ocean with a sad history of a mysterious shipwreck that had happened so long ago. Rumours have it that the island is haunted; and that cannibalism is part of the mystery, too. Not many people dare to explore that island, until time has kind of diminished the rumours but the history of the shipwrecks remain.
The journey begins when Lux and Nico decided to have a little sea adventure on Nico's boat, alongside with two other women who hired Nico to bring them to Meroe Island. Nico has been a free spirited guy who loves sailing and exploring the world. Lux, on the other hand, is tired of her job as a hotel maid and since she's devoted to her relationship with Nico, she decides that sailing with some strangers shouldn't be a bad thing considering the two female travellers, Brittany and Amma, paid a hefty sum for the ferrying.
When the four of them reached Meroe Island, they found they're not alone as they saw a luxurious boat docked before them. Eliza and Jack are a couple and the others could tell they're rich by their demeanour and of course, their boat and its facilities they seem to offer. The six of them become friends quickly; and they've a fun time having the island to themselves until an interloper disrupt their (make-believe happy) equilibrium and turn their dynamics into something dark and sinister. But then, it's not entirely the interloper's fault as each of them harbour a secret and they're about to unleash under their own fear and threats in an isolated island.
For a thriller, there isn't many actions in the first three-quarter of the book as it mostly focus on the interactions between the six characters who remind me a lot about the participants in reality TV show reminiscent of Survivor, Lost and the likes. The setting has a claustrophobic feeling and the cast of characters are intriguing so I think this is the strength of the story. However, the ending came off as abrupt and over-the-top, thus it seemed a little unhinged from the first half of the book. Apart from this, the characters aren't likeable and while this isn't an issue, it didn't help with my outlook on the story though I've to say it kept me entertained. All in all I'd still recommend this if you want a fun read and a brief break from reality.
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