The Guilt Trip by Sandie Jones
They went away as friends.
They came back as suspects.
Rachel and Jack. Paige and Noah. Will and Ali. Five friends who’ve known each other for years. And Ali, Will’s new fiancée.
The three couples travel to Portugal for Ali and Will’s destination wedding. Arriving at the gorgeous clifftop villa, the weekend away is a chance to relax and get to know Ali a little better. A newcomer to their group, she seems perfectly nice and Will seems happy after years of bad choices.
But when Rachel discovers a shocking secret about Ali, everything changes. As the wedding weekend unfolds, the secrets each of them holds begin to spill, and friendships and marriages threaten to unravel.
In Sandie Jones’s explosive new suspense novel, jumping to conclusions can become the difference between life and death.
The Guilt Trip by Sandie Jones captured my attention in the first few pages. It kept me invested in the story until about halfway when Rachel’s paranoia (the narrator of this wild and wicked tale), born of her overwhelming guilt, just became too much for me to handle. I loved the twists and turns the story took, and there are many.
I also loved certain characters and loved to hate others. Still, I felt that all were developed enough to understand motivations and choices. I didn’t, however, love the third-person focused POV through Rachel and would have enjoyed a third-person omniscient narration to get a break from the paranoia. This way, it would never get to be so much that it impeded my enjoyment of the story.
The setting, however, never got to be too much, and I could just envision this unique cliffside seascape with its enormous waves and treacherous paths. I absolutely adored the setting, and the descriptions of it were sublime and immersive. As I mentioned earlier, this is a wicked and wild tale with secrets and lies on top of secrets and lies ripe with thrills and psychological mischief. I mostly enjoyed this novel and would not hesitate to pick up another story by Sandie Jones.
Where The Truth Lies by Anna Bailey
The town of Whistling Ridge guards its secrets.
When seventeen-year-old Abigail goes missing, her best friend Emma, compelled by the guilt of leaving her alone at a party in the woods, sets out to discover the truth about what happened. The police initially believe Abi ran away, but Emma doesn’t believe that her friend would leave without her, and when officers find disturbing evidence in the nearby woods, the festering secrets and longstanding resentment of both Abigail’s family and the people of Whistling Ridge, Colorado begin to surface with devastating consequences.
Among those secrets: Abi’s older brother Noah’s passionate, dangerous love for the handsome Rat, a recently arrived Romanian immigrant who has recently made his home in the trailer park in town; her younger brother Jude’s feeling that he knows information he should tell the police, if only he could put it into words; Abi’s father’s mercurial, unpredictable rages and her mother’s silence. Then there is the rest of Whistling Ridge, where a charismatic preacher advocates for God’s love in language that mirrors violence, under the sway of the powerful businessman who rules the town, insular and wary of outsiders.
But Abi had secrets, too, and the closer Emma grows to unraveling the past, the farther she feels from her friend. And in a tinder box of small-town rage, and all it will take is just one spark—the truth of what really happened that night—to change their community forever.
Where the Truth Lies by Anna Bailey is a dark, highly atmospheric thriller that put the fictional town of Whistling Ridge, Colorado, on the map as the town I least want to visit. It is full of either heinous people or spineless victims – no one I could relate to or even empathize with.
Despite this world that pulled me deep into despair, there were aspects that I just loved about it. Dotted like breadcrumbs are the most ingenious teases as to what happened to Abigail Blake. These delectable bites kept me from bolting away from Whistling Ridge. Instead, they held me spellbound to the mystery at hand. I also liked the dual timeline of Now and Then, which allowed me to see the events leading up to Abigail’s disappearance interspersed with the investigation of her case.
Those glimpses into the past let me get to know Abigail, and she shows more of the attributes I would connect with. Though she is not untainted by this world full of trigger warnings for violence – sexual and physical. And, those aspects of her personality that developed due to her surroundings are the very ones that kept me at a distance.
If you are looking for the epitome of an atmospheric story with the most brilliant teases, and you are not triggered by non-graphic violent scenes, then Where the Truth Lies is just the story you want to pick up this summer.