There Should Have Been Eight
As a devoted fan of author Nalini Singh’s Guild Hunter series, I couldn’t wait to crack open her first offering in the suspense thriller genre. There Should Have Been Eight is an intense, locked-room style mystery set in a partially burned-out Gothic mansion in New Zealand during a storm that strands the cast with no contact with the outside world for the duration. We’re talking secret panels and tunnels, mysterious attacks, people who disappear, murder. Are you spooked yet?
Nine years ago, a tight group of eight teenagers were the best of friends until Bea, the girl everyone loved, died, and the group drifted apart. Bea’s sister, Darcie, organizes a reunion of the seven remaining now adults in her family’s old, isolated mansion – an opportunity for the group to catch up with each other and reminisce about Bea and the good old days. Luna, our narrator, is a photographer who’s just received devastating news that she has a genetic disease that will steal her eyesight over time, a diagnosis she chooses not to share with the others – a decision that elevates the tension and drama to come as readers soon learn. It’s through her eyes and camera lens that readers learn about each of the other individuals in attendance along with their sordid affairs and dark secrets. Luna hopes to gain answers to troubling questions surrounding Bea’s death as well as the shocking decision by Darcie to have her sister cremated before any of her friends could say goodbye. There’s a lot of resentment, frustration, and rage festering between members of the group, and it’s soon painfully clear someone is seeking revenge. When a fall down the stairs results in one dead from a broken neck and a blizzard cuts off communication with the outside world, it becomes a game of survival. One of them is a murderer… who is it?
There Should Have Been Eight is a chilling, highly atmospheric Gothic suspense thriller that keeps readers on the edge of their seats as they’re charged with sifting through the multitude of secrets, lies, and strange happenings to unmask a murderer. Singh excels at building intriguing, beautiful yet deadly worlds that take on the role of another character, as is evident in the setting of this story. While some may feel the pace moves a bit slow in the beginning, I appreciate the author’s diligence while introducing each player and setting the scene, affording readers a good feel for each character and their stake in the deadly game playing out. Readers will find it nigh on impossible to put this book down as the pace and tension increase dramatically as members go missing or suffer mysterious accidents and the full extent of their dire, life or death situation becomes a reality.
Author Nalini Singh has penned an intriguing, super atmospheric locked-room mystery in There Should Have Been Eight. Strong characterizations, a tension-laden plotline, and spooky setting are all conducive to a creepy, Gothic-style whodunit mystery. I’ll admit to being surprised at the big reveal in an explosive climax that’s sure to leave readers stunned, and I’m looking forward to seeing what else Singh will release in this genre. Highly recommended to fans of locked-room mysteries and suspense thrillers.
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