Friday, October 19, 2018

Go to My Grave by Catriona McPherson: Reading Room Review

Catriona McPherson's mind is so full of stories that she now writes two series and a stand-alone each year. And, she does it all with careful attention to detail in each book. I always thought of myself as a series person, and I do love reading series, with those characters in which you become invested over the years. But, I have to say that I always get excited about a new story with new characters from Catriona McPherson, because her imagination can draw up some dark, thrilling tales, each unlike anything I've ever read before. Go to My Grave draws on elements that are favorites of mine--an isolated country house, locked room scenario, simmering secrets, and ghosts from the past. And what you think you've figured out about the past doesn't even come close. I like being surprised, and Catriona twists it up beautifully to accomplish that.

Donna Weaver and her mother have worked hard to renovate the country house they bought overlooking the sea near Galloway in Scotland, to make it a luxury stay for guests wanting a get-away from the noise and rush of their everyday lives. Donna, who has worked in hotel customer service brings her experience and cooking talents to The Breakers, while her mother has extensive technical savvy to connect them to clients and keep clients happily wired during their visit if they so choose. The first booking is a group of eight cousins celebrating one of the cousins' ten-year wedding anniversary. Mother and daughter are ready for guests, but Donna's mother will be away that weekend to attend a wedding fair in Glasgow, to drum up business. So, Donna must be the lone proprietor for the cousins and their celebration, but she feels she's capable of handling it. Of course, nobody could have anticipated cousins like these. The anniversary couple, Sasha Mowbray and his wife Kim, are anything but the happy couple, and all the cousins, from Sasha's sister Rosalie and her husband Paul, Paul's brother Ramsey, siblings Peach and Buck, and lone wolf Jennifer seem more intent on tormenting one another than insuring one another enjoy the weekend. And, someone is playing some not-so-funny practical jokes that relate to the other time the eight cousins inhabited this house, the night of Sasha's sixteenth birthday party in 1991, another celebration that went horribly wrong twenty-five years ago. 

Donna is our narrator to this dark tale, but she hasn't the knowledge to give readers the backstory of the house and the cousins' connection to it. However, with chapters reaching back to that birthday party in 1991, readers gain increasing insight into just how out of control the party got and why the cousins took oaths to keep the nightmare locked away, taking its memories to the grave. The pranks related to that birthday night grow increasingly chilling in the present-day setting, until the prankster makes revenge an unmistakable goal. The suspense created with each clue to the past is deliciously palatable, and readers of Agatha Christie and Gothic fiction will be frightfully delighted as the revelation of the prankster/tormentor grows ever closer. McPherson masterfully plays with our minds to create an edge of your seat tale. The cousins all at one time or another seem capable of bringing the secrets to light that had stayed locked away for so long. And, Donna doesn’t escape suspicion either. The bottom line is that one of those connected to this house want revenge and others want to keep the box locked and the lips stitched. Who will step from the shadows to lay bare the truth? Getting to this answer will be a thrilling journey.

I received an advanced reader's copy of Go to My Grave for an honest review, and I can honestly say that it is already on my favorites list for the year.

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