Saturday, December 9, 2023

The Vacation

The Vacation by John Marrs
12/19/23; 464 pages
Hanover Square Press

The Vacation by John Marrs is a highly recommended psychological thriller. This is the third re-release of The Vacation. It was originally titled Welcome to Wherever You Are.

At a beach-front hostel in Venice Beach, Los Angeles, eight strangers all have secrets and are running away from something. Tommy was traveling with a friend and ended up at the hostel. He works at the reception desk. Savannah is a pole dancer who is always looking over her shoulder. Nicole and Eric are friends and work colleagues from the UK who have traveled all of Route 66  and are looking to find something. Matty and Declan are two best friends from Ireland who appear to be just looking for a good time. Ruth is a quiet Australian woman who has come to Los Angeles to meet her favorite movie star. Jake is an adventurer who has been traveling the world. Seemingly always around, Peyk, is a handyman at the hostel who may be the only one who sees people and events as they really are.

The writing is excellent and Marrs keeps the pace moving quickly with short chapters. The backgrounds and secrets in the stories of the characters are carefully and slowly revealed in the narrative, and they are not predictable. The cast of characters may be large, but they are clearly portrayed as individuals with unique personalities, interests, and secrets, so it is easy to keep track of who is who. The characters are interesting and all very different. Some portrayals are over-the-top caricatures, especially Savannah's father, as are some of the big twists, but everything works together for an entertaining novel.

Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of Hanover Square Press via NetGalley.

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