William Morrow| 11 July 2023 | 336 pgs
Twenty-five years ago, a female student went missing within the compound of Briarwood College. Thereafter, the death of a Creative Writing professor shocked the college community after he was found dead while searching for that missing student. Back to the present, a college President is bringing together the faculty, the donors, and alumni to honor the victims that happened from all those years ago.
But it isn't an ideal proposal, as Nell Portman, the Dean, thought. Aside from the weather forecast about the upcoming winter storm, Nell isn't comfortable about the thought of the alumni gathering. After all, bad memories linger in her mind as she thought of the recriminations and the competitiveness amongst the group of alumni; in which many of them were assigned to write about their fears for their writing projects and then bad things happened. And as the winter storm descends and it's a bit too late for the guests to leave, the group soon find themselves trapped on their ex-college campus and as an alumna died in a similar way as her story she had written for the writing projects years ago, followed by another alumna, and another; the group begin to question themselves if someone has decided to break the silence and to avenge the crimes of the past.
Alternating between Then and Now, this was an atmospheric story about secrets and rivalries within the old college. I've enjoyed many Carol Goodman's books in the past, and this book sounded wonderful with the locked-room element set amid a winter storm but alas, I'd had a hard time following the story because it was slow-paced and there're too many characters to keep straight and on top of it, most of them are unlikeable. While there're still some good twists and turns, I think one has to suspend disbelief at some point. Although my reaction to this book was lukewarm, overall I did like the academia and the atmospheric setting.
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