Tuesday 21 February 2023

Book review : Secluded Cabin Sleeps Six - Lisa Unger

The title of Lisa Unger's latest novel - Secluded Cabin Sleeps Six - sounds vaguely like an Airbnb advert. It's bland, benign, unworrying, appealing to anyone with a busy life who wants a much-needed chance to get away from it all for a while. It settles you into a (false) sense of security, imagining a nice break in the woods, surrounded by birdsong, clean air and the soothing scent of pine.

This was undoubtedly the thinking behind a weekend getaway, booked in a luxury cabin in the woods for a group of friends. High flier Mako has paid for it all and, alongside his wife Liza, they have invited his sister Hannah and her husband Bruce, alongside Hannah's best friend (and Mako's ex/bit on the side, just to add some extra tension), Cricket and her new boyfriend. What could possibly go wrong ?!

Well, quite a lot really, but not in the ways I was expecting ! Bruce and Hannah have a baby daughter and this is the first time that they are leaving her behind for some us-time. Hannah is unsurprisingly ill-at-ease about how her daughter will get on without her. Liza seems on-edge too, so nobody is sure if her sudden migraine is real or just a handy excuse to spend some time alone in her room. Then there's Cricket's boyfriend. Hannah is sure she knows him from somewhere, but where ?

With a severe storm rolling in and the mobile phone signal at best very glitchy, even the hot tub and the private chef aren't enough to have everyone feeling relaxed. What's with the spine-tingling stories of the cabin's past? And the slightly intrusive rental host who has the women feeling unsettled ? Then they have the off feeling that someone is watching them from the woods ...

It's a book that has you nervously nibbling your nails as you proceed, trying to work out who the bad guys are and who are just the hapless victims who were in the wrong place at the wrong time. All of the characters are described in the early chapters as having a character flaw or a personality that leads you to think that they could be a secret serial killer or stalker. The over-anxious mum, the insecure wife, the secretive husband, ... Ultimately, I thought I had it all sorted out in my mind but I was completely wrong !

This is Lisa Unger's twentieth novel so I think I may have to go looking for some more. I did review one other, In The Blood, on my blog and I was surprised to see that that was almost ten years ago - wow ! 

star rating : 4.5/5

RRP : £8.99

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Legend Press (28 Feb. 2023)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Paperback ‏ : ‎ 288 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1915643988
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1915643988

Disclosure : I received a review copy of the book.

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