Author: Allie Reynolds
Publisher: Hachette Australia
Published: 27th January 2020
Synopsis: In this propulsive locked-room thriller, a reunion weekend in the French Alps turns deadly when five friends discover someone has deliberately stranded them in a deserted mountaintop resort
When Milla is invited to a reunion in the tiny resort that saw the peak of her snowboarding career, she drops everything to go. While she would rather forget the events of that winter, the invitation comes from Curtis, the one person she can’t seem to let go.
The five friends haven’t seen each other for ten years, since the disappearance of the beautiful and enigmatic Saskia. But when an icebreaker game turns menacing, they realise they don’t know who has really gathered them there and how far they will go to find the truth. In an isolated lodge high up a mountain, amid a looming snowstorm, the secrets of the past are about to come to light.
Imagine Agatha Christie set in the Alps and you have Shiver, a spectacularly sinister psychological debut.
The French Alps. Five friends who used to be part of the snowboarding circuit reunite in the small resort where they first met and competed against each other ten years after the sixth member of their group, Saskia, disappeared. Ten years later, Saskia has been declared dead – yet someone has summoned Milla, Heather, Brent, Curtis and Dale to the resort under the guise of a reunion. Yet their motives turn out to be more sinister, and the games become menacing. The five friends are trapped in the resort by someone who is determined to reveal the truths about ten years ago. Is it Saskia, alive and well, and up to her menacing tricks of ten years ago, or is somebody else pulling the strings and sending the cryptic, sadistic messages, and sending the group further into isolation? Told through Milla’s perspective in first person, we only get her impression of everyone and the events of the present day, and those of ten years ago.
Allie Reynolds is a former snowboarder and uses her knowledge of the sport to create an authentic and detailed world of competition, right down to the types of boards, equipment and the role of sponsorships, alongside the cutthroat and dangerous world that sees many lose their lives, or sustain season or career ending injuries. It is a world filled with beauty and danger, which feeds into the mystery of who killed Saskia, and who has pulled Milla and the others to Le Rocher in the current storyline.
As the narrative weaves in and out of the past and present, each mirroring the other and what is happening as we are led up to Saskia’s disappearance, the mystery cleverly unfolds as the five friends are trapped in the resort, and cut off from anyone else or any resources on the mountain in the Alps. This is an intricate and fast-paced story, where lives and reputations are at stake, secrets threaten to come out, and the psychological games being played in this closed room mystery threaten to tear everyone apart. Billed as Agatha Christie in the Alps, Shiver takes the classic closed room mystery tropes, eliminating the private detective or police presence, and throws it into the Alps to increase the sense of isolation, foreboding and sense that something bad will happen to one or more of the characters.
It is a gripping story, using a well-known premise and trope combined with a world not everyone knows about or has experienced to create a mystery that will keep the readers and the characters on their toes until the final revelations, and events that bring everything together. A book for thriller fans to enjoy!