Writing: 4/5 Plot: 4/5 Characters: 4/5
Don’t read this book before bedtime!
Reed and Lucy Harper — along with Reed’s sister Liz and her lover Niko, and Lucy’s best friend Ada and husband Crosby, and Mac, the caretaker — all head to a remote island off the coast of Maine in the year 2030 to wait out what appears to be an even more deadly pandemic. The island, now owned by Reed and his sister, was once a quarantine hospital for (mostly Irish) immigrants with Typhus back in the mid 1800s. It is a creepy place, with three generations of deathly illness — the Harper parents died there of Covid in the previous pandemic, and numerous Typhoid patients met their end there the century before.
From the tense start until the surprising finish, the plot twists and turns in a Lord of the Flies meets locked-room Agatha Christie meets part Hitchcock’s Rebecca unfurling. When bad things start happening and the brutality of the island’s history starts bleeding through to the present, Lucy feels her sense of reality slipping.
This is a mystery / thriller with a huge amount of character development. The interpersonal dynamics are nuanced and ever evolving with the threats of unknown origin inserting suspicion and fear where there was once cameraderie and friendship. Very difficult to put down or to get out of your head.
The last thing I wanted to read was a dystopian books about pandemics, so let me reassure you that pandemics really didn’t feature except as an impetus to get them on the island in a quarantine state.
Thank you to William Morrow Paperbacks and NetGalley for providing an advance copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. The book will be published on July 12th, 2022.