In this propulsive locked-room thriller, a reunion weekend in the French Alps turns deadly when five friends discover someone has deliberately stranded them in a deserted mountaintop resort When Milla is invited to a reunion in the tiny resort that saw the peak of her snowboarding career, she drops everything to go. While she would rather forget the events of that winter, the invitation comes from Curtis, the one person she can't seem to let go. The five friends haven't seen each other for ten years, since the disappearance of the beautiful and enigmatic Saskia. But when an icebreaker game turns menacing, they realise they don't know who has really gathered them there and how far they will go to find the truth. In an isolated lodge high up a mountain, amid a looming snowstorm, the secrets of the past are about to come to light. Imagine Agatha Christie set in the Alps and you have Shiver, a spectacularly sinister psychological debut. 'A high-velocity heart-in-your-mouth whodunnit that delivers twists and turns, I absolutely loved it' ANNA DOWNES 'Brilliantly tense and twisty, it had me holding my breath the entire time' KAYTE NUNN 'A white-knuckle-ride through a dangerous world full of deadly ambition' ERIN KELLY 'An absolutely gripping read and genuinely unputdownable ... Fresh, thrilling and original with complex, believable characters' KAREN HAMILTON
- Publication Date:
- 27 / 01 / 2021
A gripping snow-bound thriller
Allie Reynolds' full-length debut is a triumph!
In a clever variation on the classic "locked room" mystery, five erstwhile friends are invited to an off-season reunion at the French Alps resort where, ten years previously, they gathered in advance of the British Snowboarding Championships. It's also ten years since the disappearance of the alluring but malicious Saskia Sparks, high on the Glacier du Diable where they're now meeting up again.
As the group realise they're alone and isolated high on the mountain, troubling events begin to occur and an atmosphere of suspicion descends. There are indications that they're being watched. Comparing notes, they realise that it's unclear who has invited them here, or the intended purpose of the gathering. Old jealousies, passions and resentments rise to the surface, as the five try to overcome their antipathies to find a way off the mountain to safety.
The story is told from the first-person perspective of Milla Anderson, who arrived as somewhat of an outsider for the Snowboarding season ten years previously, but was welcomed into the group of competitive Brits over the course of the season. The narrative jumps back and forth in alternating chapters between that time and the present day. As such, the series of events leading up to Saskia's disappearance unfold for the reader alongside the mounting tension amongst those gathered in the present day. There is plenty of foreshadowing and intrigue as to what each person has to hide (and they all have something to hide!).
What actually happened to Saskia all those years ago, and is the malevolent presence at the lodge watching from a distance or hidden in plain sight amongst them?
Reynolds' sense of pacing is superb, her characters complex and beguiling. The mountain setting is simultaneously beautiful and menacing, an environment in which these individuals were once at their competitive best. However, like the glacier outside, there are a multitude of hidden crevasses under the rather thin veneer of friendship and camaraderie that once drew them together.
Having recently read Ruth Ware's One by One, which is based around a not disimilar plot premise, I felt that Shiver was more successfully executed - an impressive achievement, given that this is Allie Reynolds's debut.
I have skied previously, but came to Shiver with no knowledge of snowboarding beyond having watched occasional events at the Winter Olympics. Reynolds brings her considerable personal experience (she was once rated in the top 10 of British Snowboarders) to her writing, creating a engrossing and convincing atmosphere of elite sportspeople at their competitive prime. I found it fascinating, and will have a far greater appreciation for and interest in the half-pipe when Beijing 2022 (hopefully) rolls around.
Shiver is a great mystery-thriller read, with a surprising yet satisfying final reveal, and I have no hesitation in recommending it to all lovers of high-quality thriller literature.
My thanks to the author, Allie Reynolds, publisher Hachette Australia and Netgalley for the opportunity to read and review this fabulous book.