An out of practice reader discussing the books I get around to reading.
The book has picked up a bit. The story is a little more intriguing and I find myself slightly more reluctant to put it down. Slightly. At it's core it does have an interesting premise and plot. I can't deny that.
At this point, the book reminds me more of the show Harper's Island than And Then There Were None. Which, Harper's Island is loosely based on Christie's masterpiece, so that isn't too surprising. But the sort of angsty drama and the love geometry going on in the book makes it feel more like the show than the book it's supposed to be emulating. I do find I like it a bit more when I think of it as an adaptation of Harper's Island though. Maybe because then my standards are a little lower.
I think I've finally figured out my problem with the writing. At the end of the day it's not bad writing. Structurally it's very sound. My problem is it doesn't feel genuine. The characters and the way they behave feels like how someone THINKS teenagers behave rather than how they actually do behave. For example, Claire's diary. I actually did like reading that part, but it felt like the writer was trying so hard to push the OUTCAST TEEN GIRL character that it didn't feel believable to me at all. The characters relationships, quirks, and general behavior just fall into this pushy, disingenuous pattern.
It's actually a real shame. The plot is actually intriguing enough at this point that if the characters and the interactions and dialogue were written better, this book would actually be REALLY good. I hate when that happens.
Below are some of my theories about the killer, so if you don't want to see them just stop reading here.
I am starting to like the character of TJ a little, mostly because he seems to be the only one with an actual personality. Like, he's a football player but he also likes boats. Okay, that's kind of interesting. I also think he's the killer. He's obsessed with boats but he doesn't know how to drive one? Sketchy. He disappeared for a little while and then Viv dies? Sketchy. And if Harper's Island taught me anything, it's that the character trying to get closer to the lovely female protagonist is the killer.
If it's not him, then it's Ben. His hair is blonde but there's the detail about him having black eyebrows which means his hair is dyed and probably naturally black. You know who else had naturally black hair? Claire Hicks. Coincidence? I think not! Maybe he and TJ are working together. It could be a team deal. That would make sense to me.
That all said, there's a good chance I'm wrong. I'm historically terrible at guessing the twist. The fact that I called the twist in The Visit was truly a triumph. Part of me still hopes it'll be Meg, just because that would be wonderfully twisted.