Four friends. One dream getaway. But who will make it out alive?
When the gold-rimmed invitations arrive through the doors of best friends Simone, Hannah and Vicky they’re instantly taken aback. Their ex-friend Jodie is inviting them to a lavish Mediterranean villa to celebrate her birthday. They haven’t spoken in years since she betrayed them in the worst way. So how did they make the guest list?
They all have their reasons for saying yes. Stay-at-home mum Simone had her dream job snatched away. Hannah lost the love of her life. Café-owner Vicky wants the chance to help a wronged friend. Is the reunion a chance to confront Jodie and the past once and for all?
Arriving at a villa that looks straight out of a movie set, the friends relax by the sumptuous pool as they wait for the other guests to arrive. But as the chilled wine is poured and the three friends reminisce, they see Jodie walking towards them with a look of shock on her face.
Because Jodie didn’t invite them here.
But by the end of the weekend it will become clear who did. Someone else has a reason for revenge. Who will make it out alive?
Book Info: Print length: 385 pages. Publisher: Bookouture. Publication Date: 18 April 2023
Claire Seeber is the author of bestselling psychological thrillers that shine a light onto the simmering resentments and past secrets that exist amongst seemingly ordinary lives. She has been published in more than twelve different languages and is CWA Dagger-nominated.
She started her professional life as a (bad) actress and went on to become a documentary maker, before becoming a newspaper feature writer. When she had her first baby in 2004, Claire started writing psychological thrillers and now also works as a psychotherapist.
Best friends forever, or so I thought. That’s how it was meant to be.
When we first met, we promised to have each other’s backs – not stab each other in the back.
But on this sweltering Mediterranean morning, trying frantically to catch my breath under the purest, bluest sky; fighting to balance on the rocks I’ve just clambered up so desperately, my sweaty feet and hands scratched and bleeding, it’s clear that someone didn’t get the memo.
The view across golden sands and turquoise sea might be as gorgeous as Vogue’s travel pages, but the ruined thing on the edge of the water makes my stomach heave.
Less than fifty metres away, sprawled in the middle of this tropical beauty spot, motionless as a floppy giant starfish, gentle waves lapping at the upturned soles, is a body.
By the looks of it, a very dead one, face down in the hot sand, ugly and destroyed, a thick black knife handle protruding from its spine like a bulging shark fin.
And even as I try to process the nightmare I’m gazing at, the sun beating its burning rays on the frazzling skin, my stomach churning with nausea; as I just about manage to contain my first retch, I think – there’s something wrong with the picture, fresh corpse or not.
I just can’t quite work out what. Yet.
But I will. I have to.
Before it gets us all.
Police is my frantic thought as I start to scramble the other way down the rocks.
We need the police immediately; we need official help – but we can’t get off the bloody island. We can’t even call for help, as we can’t make our phones work; they haven’t worked for days.
We’re almost at the stage of using smoke signals. Literally – a bonfire was lit last night in desperation, to no avail.
Unless one of us swims to the mainland – and no one has dared even suggest it after the boating disaster – we are well and truly trapped.
And as the corpse gently sizzles in the heat and I scrape my grazed knees on the rocks again as I try to get away, that book I read at school, Lord of the Flies, floods my head – the mad chaos of it, the frantic fight for survival – and the image of a human head pinioned on a stick blurs into my imagination.
Fighting nausea, I hear a sob.
It takes me a few seconds to realise it’s my own.
Over the rocks now, I begin to run, and all I can do is pray it’s towards safety this time.
To safety – and not straight into the arms of the killer.