The Chalet (2020) by Catherine Cooper

1998, the French Alps, and a skiing holiday goes disastrously wrong. Two young men are separated from their guide during a blizzard. Only one of them is discovered, barely alive…

Twenty years later, two couples arrive at the same resort. Both marriages have tensions within them, but a far deeper problem lies beneath the surface. The incident from the past has not gone away, and at least one person at the chalet has a direct connection to the incident. But who is willing to kill? And why?

Well, I was browsing on NetGalley and thought I’d give this a go. There was a whiff of “And Then There Were None” about the blurb, and given some other titles had tried and failed to do the isolated-group-being-picked-off tale recently, I thought I’d see if this one worked. Well, it doesn’t do that, but only because it isn’t that sort of book at all. And re-reading the blurb, I’m not really sure what made me think it was.

Anyway, the book actually is very much in line with the current trend, the domestic thriller, with multiple narrators, two in the present, two in the past, as information is drip-fed to create the big picture.

I’ll be honest, the book had me gripped, with its repeated changes of focus and developments. I did think it fell away towards the end, with some of the twists being telegraphed too much. The blurb for the book refers to “a twist you won’t see coming”. I’m at a loss as to which twist this is… Once the revelations as to who is who and why they want to do the things they do, I felt that the conclusion was a little drawn out as well. And one has to wonder how if two people do something bad, how can one get away with blackmailing the other about it?

But on the other hand, it’s a well-written thriller, despite the fairly (and deliberately) unlikeable characters, and a gripping read. A decent debut.

Many thanks to the publishers for the review copy via NetGalley. The Chalet is out in paperback on 31st October.

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