My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️1/2
Title: Saint X
Author: Alexis Schaitkin
Format: eBook (NetGalley)
Categories: Murder Mystery, Adult, Contemporary
Disclaimer: **I received this book free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.**
Claire is only seven years old when her college-age sister, Alison, disappears on the last night of their family vacation at a resort on the Caribbean island of Saint X. Several days later, Alison’s body is found in a remote spot on a nearby cay, and two local men – employees at the resort – are arrested. But the evidence is slim, the timeline against it, and the men are soon released. The story turns into national tabloid news, a lurid mystery that will go unsolved. For Claire and her parents, there is only the return home to broken lives.
Years later, Claire is living and working in New York City when a brief but fateful encounter brings her together with Clive Richardson, one of the men originally suspected of murdering her sister. It is a moment that sets Claire on an obsessive pursuit of the truth – not only to find out what happened the night of Alison’s death but also to answer the elusive question: Who exactly was her sister? At seven, Claire had been barely old enough to know her: a beautiful, changeable, provocative girl of eighteen at a turbulent moment of identity formation.
As Claire doggedly shadows Clive, hoping to gain his trust, waiting for the slip that will reveal the truth, an unlikely attachment develops between them, two people whose lives were forever marked by the same tragedy.
Thank you to Celadon Books and NetGalley for giving me a chance to read this eARC.
I went into this thinking it was a murder mystery where we find the clues to who murdered Alison, but I got something else.
Claire is an adult now but the death of her sister years ago still affects her and the people that were involved with the investigation. Instead of a real murder mystery, we are treated more to a look at the people that were affected by her death. There are news articles, witness statements, statements even from people who weren’t there but knew Alison. Claire runs into one of the people who was a suspect in Alison’s and she gets obsessed with wanting to find out what happened that night. What she comes away with is insight about her sister and man accused of committing the crime.
- This was not the murder mystery I expected, but reading Alison’s journals and hearing accounts from people she came into contact was keeping me interested in this story! I did have to put this book down for a few days because I was bummed it was reading like a usual murder mystery but I’m glad I stuck it through.
- I liked that we get to meet Clive, who was one of the last people to see Alison alive and we get to see his back story. Through him we get to know the island Saint X and the local lifestyle as we watch him and his best friend Edgar grow up. Clive hasn’t had an easy life, compared to Claire who grew up wealthy and privileged. But they both experience pain in their lives.
- Alison is such an interesting character and we get to know her through her journals, videos, and personal accounts but in reality she was still so young and was finding herself.
- I’m glad Claire got closure in a way – she had tried to avoid everything about Alison and her murder all her life, understandably since she was so young when it happened. What a traumatic event to go through and try to process. When she bumps into Clive out of the blue, it hashes up all the memories of what happened and the sister she thought she knew.
- I think of all the characters in this book, Clive’s story was the strongest. His childhood, how he grew up on the island, how his mom abandoned him, meeting Alison and the night of the murder. Then there is the aftermath where he is living in NYC.
- The ending was definitely unexpected! It’s sad how know one really knew the real Alison, she was still learning about herself too when she died.
- There were times in the book I was slugging through and like I said, I even put it down for a few weeks. There are a lot of different accounts being told, sometimes randomly from a teacher of Alison’s or someone who barely knew her. The beginning is slow if you are expecting a usual murder mystery, and I seriously wanted to DNF this book but I didn’t. When we finally get to Clive’s story about what happened the night Alison died is when I was fully immersed in the story. This comes past the halfway mark!
- Triggers: death
I almost gave up on this one but I’m glad I didn’t because in the end I did enjoy it. Don’t go into reading this thinking it’s a fast paced thriller murder mystery. It is more of a character study of Alison, the murder victim, and the people that are left behind with the aftermath of a traumatic event.