When Milla is invited to a reunion in the French Alps resort that saw the peak of her snowboarding career, she drops everything to go. While she would rather forget the events of that winter, the invitation comes from Curtis, the one person she can’t seem to let go. The five friends haven’t seen each other for ten years, since the disappearance of the beautiful and enigmatic Saskia. But when an icebreaker game turns menacing, they realise they don’t know who has really gathered them there and how far they will go to find the truth. In a deserted lodge high up a mountain, the secrets of the past are about to come to light.
10 years ago, Milla, Curtis, his sister Saskia, Dale, Heather and Brent met and spent their winter in Le Rocher training in the lead up to a snowboard competition. Ultimately it ended in disaster when Saskia disappeared, and another competitor was left paralysed changing their lives forever. 10 years on they have also been sent invites to spend the weekend at the resort following Saskia being declared dead. Shortly after arriving, they realise they have been lured there under false pretences and find themselves cut off, with no way of leaving the resort. Suspicious soon turns to each other as accusations fly about what really happened that winter. As sinister clues emerge that bring into question what really happened to Saskia, the group find themselves struggling to survive the elements and each other. The question is who has brought them there and what really happened to Saskia all those years ago. Told in dual timeline from Millas viewpoint, we follow the events leading up to the disappearance and the present-day threat they face.
This book was fantastic, and it really did surpass my expectations. The premise intrigued me because not only do we have a mystery we also have some of my favourite tropes in the setting and set up. We have a snowy, isolated setting where the main characters are stranded and cut off. I just love this set up for a thriller or horror and this book used that setting really well. Everything that happened to the characters was as a result and every choice they had to make, made sense in the context of the setting. Often, they had no other choice but to do silly dangerous things that under normal circumstances they would not do. This somehow made the story feel so much more believable. I think this kind of set up is quite classic in a thriller, but this felt quite new and fresh.
In the past timeline the setting is used in a slightly different way. We follow these young people who meet whilst snowboard training and I really enjoyed how much the story featured the snowboarding aspect. I have never skied or snowboarded, but I have always wanted to try. I really enjoyed learning about the sport and the competitive aspect of it. There were lots of references to different snowboarding tricks and techniques that I didn’t really follow. I found myself looking up pictures and videos online which I always enjoy when I am reading. However, if you aren’t familiar with the sport and don’t want to be looking things up, you may get lost with some of what the characters talk about. It left me wanting to read more books that feature snowboarding and skiing as a subject, but I since struggled to find many.
I also really liked the angsty drama that we followed in the past events. We have a level of quite new adult goings on in terms of people bed hopping and various relationships playing out. However, we also have a slightly more toxic level that Saskia brings, especially in her relationship with Milla. It’s this that steers the story with rest of the drama playing out around it. Saskia was a great villain; She had that mix of being brutally cruel but intoxicating. Milla couldn’t help but want to compete with her but also be friends with her. This led to some frustrating moments as a reader because despite Saskias dangerous games Milla always seemed to let her guard down and underestimate her. It was such an interesting relationship with both Milla and Saskia being such intriguing characters.
Both timelines were so compelling especially in the later third of the story. I always enjoy the dual timeline narrative and I found I was equally invested in both stories. I couldn’t wait to finish one section so I could return to the other. It’s definitely a book that’s easy to fly through and makes you say, ‘just one more chapter’.
There present day setting, and story was also done constructed so well. As I mentioned I found the actions of the characters plausible and could see them making bad decisions as they felt they had no choice. I loved watching the group implode, question everything and the secrets pour out. I didn’t predict the ending, I suspected everyone but equally couldn’t see how it could be any of them. Even down to the last few chapter’s I had no idea how it would end. I also found it so creepy and atmospheric. One of the most surprising parts to me that there was coupling I really got behind. I wouldn’t call it a romance but there was this constantly simmering relationship where you never knew if those involved could trust each other.
This book was such a compelling mystery with a real thrilling element. The setting was perfect, there were so many twists and turns in both timelines as well as so much to depth to the characters and relationships. I just couldn’t put it down and thoroughly recommend it to any mystery/thriller lovers and a great way to start my reading year.
Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher Headline for providing me with a copy of this book for review.