Monday, August 28, 2023

With Regrets

With Regrets by Lee Kelly
9/5/23; 320 pages
Crooked Lane Books

With Regrets by Lee Kelly is a very highly recommended domestic horror mixed with a science fiction locked room drama.

Liz Brinkley and her husband are invited to an exclusive soiree by Britta Harris-Che, an influencer and self-named lifestyle guru (#Brittasays). Liz, a writer absolutely does not want to go but her hand is forced by her husband. Their too-young sitter shows up and they leave for the dinner party. Seven guests show up, four wives, three husbands. At the beginning of the dinner a red alert comes through everyone's phones. Something strange is happening. An atmospheric phenomena that looks like 'glimmering clouds,' has been spreading through major cities and kills anyone they encounter. "Authorities have just one clear Find shelter. Immediately."

Guests are desperate to get home to their children, but after trying it is clear that they all are forced to shelter at the Harris-Che home. Since leaving is not an option, they must all gather supplies and take shelter in the wine cellar and family room/safe room. It is in the safe room that the atmosphere takes a decidedly different turn from a festive Soiree as tensions and suspicions quickly rise.

The narrative is told through the four viewpoints of Liz, Britta, Padme and Mable. Don't expect to truly like any of these characters, although some are more appealing than others. Certainly Britta is going to raise the ire of most readers. The men are basically all flawed side characters. None of the characters are deeply developed, but that is expected in a disaster/end of the world novel. The foe and the struggle is the point.

The beginning dinner party is the stuff of nightmares but once the red alert comes through the plot gets very interesting. The idea of some strange glimmering atmospheric phenomena where clouds of thread-like shiny things are attacking and killing every living thing is certainly a worthy horrific adversary, but the glimmer is not the only antagonist. Humans can also become a hostile party.

The writing was excellent. I was full-in once the glimmer started and the subsequent action held my full attention right up to the end. I will admit feeling slightly let down by the ending but I really enjoyed the journey getting there. 4.5 rounded up.

Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of Crooked Lane Books via NetGalley.

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