1/9/24; 303 pages
Thomas & Mercer
The Guests by Margot Hunt is a highly recommended locked-room thriller set during a Category 5 hurricane.
Admittedly, you have to set disbelief and some logical reasoning aside,
but once you decide to go for it, you will be entertained either by the
action or betting who will survive.
Hurricane Celeste is due to arrive very soon and attorney Lee Davies and his heiress wife, Marlowe, along with their teens, Tim and June, are planning to ride out the Category 5 storm in their palatial home. Joining the family is Tim's friend Zack and Marlowe's assistant, Isabel. Staying secretly in June's room is her best friend, Felix. Just as handyman Mick Byrne finishes putting up their hurricane shutters with help from Tim and Zach, a stranger docks their boat at the house.
As they head down to the dock to see who they are, an accident
incapacitates Mick and the strangers help carry him into the house. The
strangers are brothers, Jason and
Bo Connor, and Bo’s girlfriend, Darcy. Once they are in the house, Bo
seems charming at first, but as the storm begins to intensify, tensions
begin to rise with these uninvited guests. It is soon clear that they
are not safe.
Each chapter is told through a specific character's point-of-view,
with Marlowe being the prime voice. There are a few flashback chapters
to provide background details. Yes, there are several times eye-rolling
may happen and you have to suspend all disbelief, but if you are able to
just roll with the action as written, it is very entertaining. There
are some twists, surprises, and soap-opera material in the plot along
with the more predictable parts.
The Guests is a fast-paced thriller that will hold your attention
to the end if you commit to getting through the hurricane with these
people. Me thinks it wasn't really written with character development in
mind and wants all focus on the action, secrets, twists, and
locked-room aspect of the plot, which I happily obliged to agree to do.