Book Review: The Cruise by Catherine Cooper

I have thoroughly enjoyed Catherine Cooper’s previous two books and so was excited to be sent an advance review copy of her new book – still at C in the alphabet, this time The Cruise! Here’s the blurb:

A glamorous ship
During a New Year’s Eve party on a large, luxurious cruise ship in the Caribbean, the ship’s dancer, Lola, goes missing.
Everyone on board has something to hide
Two weeks later, the ship is out of service, laid up far from land with no more than a skeleton crew on board. And then more people start disappearing…
No one is safe
Why are the crew being harmed? Who is responsible? And who will be next?”

The book starts off on a luxury cruise ship in the Caribbean – so far so swanky. Then it flips to a remote Scottish location – and I have to admit I must have read it after wine / when really tired – as when I opened my Kindle the next day to continue reading I was completely confused as to where the cruise ship was and what had happened – and wondered if I’d opened a totally different book! After a bit of ‘rewinding’ (not sure what the technical term is?!) I worked out what had happened. At first read these two storylines appear completely unrelated – but you know from previous Catherine Cooper books that it’s not going to stay that way! Having been caught completely off guard with her previous books’ twists and turns I was much more alert this time (well, when sober / awake enough, clearly!).

On the cruise ship, one of the dancers, Lola has gone missing – and her dance partner Antonio is distraught. A guest thought she saw someone fall overboard during the New Year’s Eve celebrations – and it’s assumed that Lola has taken her own life. But then other crew members start dying…

The cruise ship setting is described really well and you got a real feel for the boat – however as it’s basically moored up for maintenance work, the setting of the Caribbean isn’t really explored at all.

The geographical location of Laura and her father in Scotland is the other initial setting – and again, you get a real feel for the oppressive and reclusive setting he enforces they live in.

The storylines eventually intertwine – but I don’t want to say too much for fear of spoilers!

I loved the fact that the book tied up all of the loose ends – even if some seemed a *little* far fetched – but that often happens in ‘whodunnits’ I guess.

The book has an incredibly similar vibe to Catherine Cooper’s previous novels – but why mess with a format that has worked so well. And even though I was on my toes looking for clues throughout – and did pick up on some – I most definitely didn’t guess the whole storyline. Enough to be smug – but without being bored – perfect!

The Cruise is out later this month on Kindle, and early next month as a hardback.

A big thank you to the publishers and NetGalley for my ARC.

Book Review: The Chateau by Catherine Cooper

I very much enjoyed Catherine Cooper’s first novel – The Chalet – which became a Sunday Times Bestseller – and so when the publisher emailed to see if I fancied reading her second novel, I jumped at the chance and downloaded an ARC from NetGalley. Here’s the blurb:

They thought it was perfect. They were wrong…
A glamorous chateau
Aura and Nick don’t talk about what happened in England. They’ve bought a chateau in France to make a fresh start, and their kids need them to stay together – whatever it costs.
A couple on the brink
The expat community is welcoming, but when a neighbour is murdered at a lavish party, Aura and Nick don’t know who to trust.
A secret that is bound to come out…
Someone knows exactly why they really came to the chateau. And someone is going to give them what they deserve.”

I romped through this second book from Catherine Cooper enjoying it just as much as The Chalet. I was expecting twists and turns and unexpected things happening – and I was not disappointed!

The book follows 2 timelines – Aura and Nick and their kids having moved to France – and back in England where you know ‘something’ has happened. Flicking back and forth between the timelines really kept up the momentum of the book.

Aura is a typical wannabe Instagram influencer – sharing her life and her kids on public social media channels, and inviting a film crew to document their move to France so she can have her 15 minutes of fame. I have to say, I didn’t really like Aura at all. But then equally I didn’t really like Nick either! Sometimes not liking / empathising with the main characters takes away from the enjoyment of the book – but in this case it didn’t – possibly because bad things kept happening to them!!

It takes pretty much the entire book for both timelines to unravel and to see how they are entwined. As I said, I was expecting a big twist – just like in The Chalet – and there were a couple! And again, I’m not sure I would have spotted them even if I’d known from the start what they would be.

All in all this is not a ‘difficult second album’ of a book – it’s fabulous!

Book Review: The Chalet by Catherine Cooper

French Alps, 1998
Two young men ski into a blizzard… but only one returns.
20 years later
Four people connected to the missing man find themselves in that same resort. Each has a secret. Two may have blood on their hands. One is a killer-in-waiting.
Someone knows what really happened that day.
And somebody will pay.

When I was emailed by the publisher to see if I’d like an advance review copy of this book, I jumped at the chance – the blurb was intriguing immediately – and I was prepared to take a chance on a debut novelist, and I’m so pleased I did!

I loved this book from the start.

The story is told, flicking between the present day (the Alps, pre covid – how wonderful!) and 1998 when there was a tragedy. You don’t have all the facts up front – and it twists and turns brilliantly.

You know that the 2 stories are connected – but right up until the very end you aren’t sure exactly how. There are plenty of red herrings and teasers to keep you interested.

I don’t really want to give you too much information on the storyline – as it unfurls brilliantly! For example, you know someone dies in 1998, but don’t know who until some way through.

Similarly different voices are added to the story telling – both in 1998 and the present day – and the ‘before / after’ chapters too. I felt that really helped build the tension – and you don’t know who to trust!

My best friend from school lives in the French Alps, and so the setting was familiar, which I liked. And the horrific ski bores on holiday were also familiar!

When I’d finished the book and therefore knew who everyone actually was, I was intrigued to see if I went back to the beginning there were any clues – but I really don’t think I would have guessed some of the connections at all – it was incredibly clever!

I romped through this really quickly as I was keen to find out what happened – always a good sign with a book.

This is out at the end of October electronically and mid November as a traditional book, and I’d highly recommend it. Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for my advance review copy.