One hen weekend, seven secrets… but only one worth killing for. Jen’s hen party is going to be out of control…

She’s rented a luxury getaway on its own private island. The helicopter won’t be back for seventy-two hours. They are alone. They think.

As well as Jen, there’s the pop diva and the estranged ex-bandmate, the tennis pro and the fashion guru, the embittered ex-sister-in-law and the mouthy future sister-in-law.

It’s a combustible cocktail, one that takes little time to ignite, and in the midst of the drunken chaos, one of them disappears. Then a message tells them that unless someone confesses her terrible secret to the others, their missing friend will be killed.

Problem is, everybody has a secret. And nobody wants to tell.

My Review

I’ve never read a Chris Brookmyre novel before, apart from the Ambrose Parry series, so I had no idea what to expect. Seven women on a hen weekend on a remote island in the Scottish Highlands. Seven more mature women, so this isn’t about silly costumes, blingy tiaras, too many shots and falling over drunk in the streets of Benidorm (or whatever young women do on hen nights these days).

Most of them go back years, some have fallen out and one or two have never met before. Jen is the one getting married. It’s her second time, the first time was to Jason, missing and declared dead, whose sister Beattie has come on the hen do. Why? None of us in our book club understood why Jen invited her, especially since Jen’s relationship with Jason was toxic (more so than we initially realise) and her soon-to-be-new sister-in-law Samira is also coming.

Jen is going to marry Zaki, but has never met his sister Samira until this weekend. Samira is a bit loud and outspoken, but that’s maybe because she’s been stuck at home with twin babies for the past six months and couldn’t wait to get away.

Michelle is a pop superstar, but fell out with childhood friend Helena when she ditched her for a record contract. I can’t remember how they know Nicolette, another childhood friend I think, but suffice to say, she’s super-glam, all TOWIE, boobs and pouty lips. She does something important at fashion house Reiss. Kennedy is the twenty-something tennis coach they met at the leisure club and have only known for a few months.

Throw Lauren into the mix – she owns the retreat and has pissed off quite a few people financially – and we have an explosive cocktail, even more so than the ones they are all drinking. Then one of them is kidnapped and all hell breaks loose. And we all know that hell hath no fury like seven drunk angry women on a hen night. With secrets and personal grudges to bear. What could go wrong?

I was never quite sure whether some parts were supposed to be funny, but I frequently laughed out loud at the improbability of it all. Jolly good fun and towards the end I believed some of it was tongue-in-cheek.

It’s probably an age thing but I certainly learnt some new vocabulary in The Cliff House. Words like ‘retconning’ which I’d never come across before. Or tabula rasa anyone? Look it up!

Many thanks to The Pigeonhole, and my fellow Pigeons for making this such an enjoyable read.

About the Author

Chris Brookmyre was a journalist before becoming a full-time novelist with the publication of his award-winning debut Quite Ugly One Morning, which established him as one of Britain’s leading crime writers. His 2016 novel Black Widow won both the McIlvanney Prize and the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year award. Brookmyre’s novels have sold more than two million copies in the UK alone.

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