Sharon here, back with another edition of Thriller Thursday! This week I am reviewing Holly Jackson’s new book Five Survive and Kimberly Belle’s new book The Person Assistant.
Five Survive Goodreads
Author: Holly Jackson
Publication Date: November 29, 2022
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Holly Jackson’s YA thriller Five Survive follows Red Kenny and five of her friends as they travel in an RV from Philadelphia to the Gulf Shores for spring break. And as the title suggests, six friends start out on this trip but only five of them will survive. This story is told over an eight hour time frame and Jackson weaves an incredible story that kept me on the edge of my seat the whole time I was reading.
Things start out great for Red and her friends (Simon, Arthur, Maddy, Maddy’s older brother Oliver, and his girlfriend Reyna), but then they lose cell service and end up getting lost and the RV breaks down in the middle of nowhere. The friends soon realize that this was no accident and that there is a sniper out in the dark who wants one of them dead. But first, the sniper wants to know the secret they are carrying. As the hours go by, the friends start to turn on each other as it becomes clear that one of them has been lying and they need to figure out which of their secrets this killer wants.
I thought Holly Jackson did a great job creating this story, the characters, and the setting. The book is not only told over a short period of time, but it also takes place in the RV and I think Jackson did an amazing job with this setting. I could visualize myself there and I could also relate to everything the friends were feeling and the tension they were experiencing within this tight space.
Red was my favorite character. She has been through a lot in her life. Her mother was a police sergeant and was killed four years ago. Red was on the phone with her mother not long before she was killed and they had an argument and Red cannot forgive herself for the things she said before she hung up on her. Red was also a little quirky. I am not sure if it was just with what she went through with her mother or if she was possibly on the autism spectrum. She would write to do lists to herself on her hands and arms, and her mind would wander a lot. But she was strong and as the story progressed, we got to see how strong she was.
Oliver was my least favorite character. He thought because he was the oldest, he was the one that made the decisions. And let me tell you, his decisions were always wrong! He would never take the blame when things went wrong though; it was always someone else’s fault. He was just so arrogant.
I cannot say whose secret the killer wanted and I definitely cannot say who did not survive, because duh, major spoiler LOL! But I will say that I was pretty much completely in the dark on the outcome of this book. Five Survive had me hooked from the first page. I was on the edge of my seat at the end and I think Holly Jackson did a great job of tying all the ends together. She even left me with a few tears in my eyes. 4 ½ stars
The Personal Assistant Goodreads
Author: Kimberly Belle
Publication Date: November 29, 2022
Publisher: Park Row
Kimberly Belle’s latest book, The Personal Assistant, is a cat and mouse thriller with lots of twists and turns that kept me guessing until the end.
Alex Hutchinson is a social media influencer who has reached one million followers and is on top of the world. Within the span of a few hours, however, her world comes crumbling down. Alex didn’t intend to become an influencer, but what was originally a hobby, soon became a full-time job. Alex, her husband Patrick, and her personal assistant AC, celebrate her million followers milestone with a few too many drinks and the next morning Alex wakes up to a firestorm due to a controversial post she drunkenly made the night before, though she has no memory of making the post. When Alex tries to contact AC to help with damage control, AC is nowhere to be found. As the police start their search for AC, it becomes clear that she is not who she said she was. Things start to escalate as a certain troll is leaking information about Alex and her family is now being threatened, and then a dead body (who is not AC) is found in Alex and Patrick’s carriage house. Is AC behind all this? Who is she really and where is she?
The book is told from the POV of Alex, Patrick and from a woman named Anna Clare in 1994. I wasn’t that crazy about Alex or Patrick. Patrick was keeping secrets and the more we learned about them, the more I did not trust him. Alex in my opinion was just very self-centered. With all that was going on, she was more concerned about keeping her social media page open than she was about the welfare of her twin teenage daughters. Yes when things really started ramping up she took it more seriously and did what she could to protect them, but I never really warmed up to her.
I really liked having the Anna Clare chapters thrown in as that added more mystery to the story. I kept thinking I knew how those chapters tied into what was happening now, but alas I was wrong.
I think Belle did a good job on giving us a look into the inside of what goes on with influencers and how their pages are run. It really is a business, and one wrong thing can bring it all down. Influencers are a big part of our world now and seeing how the trolls reacted to the post Alex made had me thinking no way would I want to put myself out there like that. Those trolls are vicious.
I don’t want to say too much about what happens, but there were lots of twists and turns and I didn’t figure anything out until the very end. While The Personal Assistant was not my favorite book by Kimberly Belle, I still thought it was a solid read. 3 ½ stars