Source: Review copy
Publication: 1st December 2020 from Thomas and Mercer
My thanks to the publisher for an early copy of this book for review purposes
Seven strangers. Seven secrets. One perfect crime.
When Amelia is invited to an all-expenses-paid retreat on a private island, the mysterious offer is too good to refuse. Along with six other strangers, she’s told they’re here to test a brand-new product for Timeo Technologies. But the guests’ excitement soon turns to terror when the real reason for their summons becomes clear.
Each guest has a guilty secret. And when they’re all forced to wear a memory-tracking device that reveals their dark and shameful deeds to their fellow guests, there’s no hiding from the past. This is no luxury retreat—it’s a trap they can’t get out of.
As the clock counts down to the lavish end-of-day party they’ve been promised, injuries and in-fighting split the group. But with no escape from the island—or the other guests’ most shocking secrets—Amelia begins to suspect that her only hope for survival is to be the last one standing. Can she confront her own dark past to uncover the truth—before it’s too late to get out?
Amelia is an international aid worker, tired and stressed after years of gruelling work in disaster zones. For years she has dedicated her life to making the world better for others, some seeing what she does as selfless, but Amelia knows she has a different reason for carrying out this work. She has a secret she has never divulged and it eats her up from the inside.
But when she received her invitation from Timeo Technologies to test out a new product as part of a luxury, all-expenses paid trip, she thinks that perhaps it is time that she allowed herself some personal relaxing time.
That’s her first mistake. Soon she finds herself on a secluded island with six strangers; the most self-obsessed, unlikeable bunch of characters that she has ever met. Social media influencers, a photographer, a hedge fund manager and a games developer are all given technology to wear that will have a significant impact on their actions throughout their stay.
Soon it becomes clear that these four women and three men all have something to hide. Each has a guilty secret they do not want to divulge; but what is it and who has brought them together and for what purpose?
As the seven navigate the secluded island, their dream of a luxury retreat becomes a nightmare that threatens their very existence.
Susi Holliday’s book starts with an ominous prologue that clearly sets the scene for what is to come, but it is for the reader to try and guess just how that relates to the seven guests on the mystery island.
A sort of The Hunting Party meets Lord of the Flies, The Last Resort uses the idea of advanced technology to create a tense and exciting scenario where that technology is used to drive people apart and reduce them to their basest fears.
One by one, the participants are set against each other and Amelia wonders when her turn will come.
Susi Holliday’s book is a quintessential locked room mystery expanded into an island setting and with the added fun of technology to offer bite and intrigue. This is a book where you let your imagination have free reign and just enjoy where it takes you, as you find yourself horrified and surprised by each turn of events.
Verdict: Susi Holliday has created a fun and interesting mystery overlaid with technological advances that are just plausible to create a fascinating story. I would personally have liked to know a great deal more about Amelia’s story and particularly the aspects of it that related to why she was on the island. Perhaps though, that’s another book to come?
S.J.I. (Susi) Holliday is a scientist, writing coach and the bestselling author of five crime novels, including the Banktoun Trilogy (Black Wood, Willow Walk and The Damselfly), the festive chiller The Deaths of December and her creepy Gothic psychological thriller The Lingering. Her short story ‘Home From Home’ was published in Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine and shortlisted for the CWA Margery Allingham Prize. All of her novels have been UK ebook number-one bestsellers. Susi was born and raised in Scotland and now divides her time between Edinburgh, London and as many other exciting places that she can fit in.