Friday 1 July 2022

Sun Damage - Sabine Durrant

The heat is intense.
The secrets are stifling.
She just needs to escape . . .

Nine guests arrive at a remote villa in the south of France.
They know each other well. Or think they do.
But at least one of them has plenty to hide - and nowhere to run.
Under the relentless sun, loyalties will be tested, secrets revealed, and tensions pushed to the point of no return.

What did I think?

I've enjoyed some Sabine Durrant novels in the past and Sun Damage is no exception, although strangely the blurb doesn't seem to accurately reflect the novel.  So much so, that you'd be forgiven for thinking you'd picked up the wrong book when you first start reading.  Bear with it though, as this is a tense and claustrophobic novel that is so easy to read.

Ali and Sean are con artists, preying on the wealthy without a second thought.  When a con takes an unexpected turn, Ali sees her chance to escape Sean's clutches and finds herself masquerading as a chef for a British family who have rented a holiday villa in the south of France.  How the other half live, eh?

It's hard to actually like Ali as a character as she is a con artist so you're never sure who the real Ali is.  The family dynamic and the relationships between the guests was very interesting to read, as was Ali's relationship with Sean.  I found it fascinating how quickly and easily they managed to glean information about their marks, which is of course a lot easier in this digital age.

I didn't find it as twisty as I expected from the blurb, I think my imagination must have been working overtime as I worked out most of the plot quite early on and even expected more twists to be revealed from clues I thought I'd picked up, but they didn't materialise.  So, even though I was left with a few unanswered questions I still enjoyed the book.

Sun Damage is quite a slow burner but it's compulsively readable.  It's beautifully written as you would expect from a Sabine Durrant novel, with characters that you love to hate.  It's a good book to take on holiday to read by the pool and a stark reminder to not post your whole life on social media.

I received a gifted hardback copy from the publisher as part of the Tandem Collective readalong and this is my honest and unbiased opinion.

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