The Guilt Trip
reviewed by Sandra Hoover
Six friends, three couples, board a plane for the elite coast of Portugal—a dream destination wedding for two of them—Will and Ali. Jack and Rachel and Noah and Paige accompany them to help celebrate Jack’s brother Will’s wedding to the sparkly, flirty, maybe unreliable Ali.
Yes, it’s complicated. These couples have history and a whole trunk full of secrets. Rachel believes Jack is cheating on her with Ali who used to work for Jack. Her best friend Paige helps feed that theory every chance she gets in a being helpful kind of way . . . or does she have ulterior motives too. Rachel and Noah are best friends from forever and deny ever having been anything more than friends, but Jack and Paige don’t buy it. They’ve seen how they look at each other when they think no one’s looking. Ali wants Rachel, her soon-to-be sister-in-law, to like and accept her into the family so she shares a few things she’s noticed happening in an effort to help, but Rachel doesn’t trust her. After all, everyone but Will knows she’s a liar and a cheat. Right? Will doesn’t seem to know what’s going on. He’s just there to marry the love of his life. So…who’s cheating who, who’s being true, and who won’t live to return home?
The Guilt Trip is one wild, convoluted guilt trip similar to a crazy, mixed up soap opera. Narrators change with chapters and thus the story unfolds from all six player’s points of view which kept my head spinning and mind guessing. It’s obvious not long after they arrive at the resort that things are going downhill fast—a train wreck waiting to happen. The action is driven by a lot of gossiping, backstabbing, outrage, and always the dirty little secrets. Readers are charged with decoding all the secrets and figuring out who can be trusted and, by the end, who’s a murderer. I’ll admit to changing my mind several times.
While this is not a group of people I would ever want to travel with or have as friends, they make for a highly entertaining read especially once their masks start slipping and the true people emerge. Jones does a brilliant job with characterization – so much so that I may have wanted to slap a character or two. Having said that, the ominous undertone is always there growing louder like a ticking bomb until the twisted, climatic end that Jones leaves just a wee bit open-ended. All plot lines are tied off, but as a reader I was left wondering if . . . well, wondering. Sandie Jones’s writing lends itself beautifully to thrillers like The Guilt Trip with alternating points of view and slightly choppy chapters. She’s proven once again why she’s one of my most anticipated authors. Highly recommended to fans of mystery, suspense, thrillers and highly entertaining reads.