Tom, his wife Heather, and his two kids Olivia and Owen are on vacation in Australia where Tom, a respected orthopedic surgeon, is expected to give a speech at a doctor’s convention. Olivia and Owen are still mourning the unexpected and tragic death of their mother as they adjust to Heather, their new stepmom. On an afternoon drive, the makeshift family stops at a roadside stand where they inquire about places to see Australian wildlife. The two men who greet them also encourage them to visit their family’s island which is not only off the beaten path, but it is very much off the grid. On the ferry ride over, Heather quickly discovers that her cell phone doesn’t work and, although they are only a mile from the mainland, they might as well be on a totally different planet as the island is completely isolated from civilization. During their one hour “self-guided tour” on the island before they are expected back on the ferry, a tragic accident causes them to panic. A series of very unfortunate events leads to the realization that they are not as alone on the island as they originally thought. The inhabitants of the island operate under their own jurisdiction, and they have no intention of letting their guests leave alive. An intense game of cat and mouse follows where the roles of hunter and hunted change with every turn of the page. They must learn to listen to each other, listen to the land, and listen to their own instincts if they are to have any chance of survival. However, just when you think you fully know a character in this book, well, think again.
Trigger warnings: Murder, unexpected death, violence, language
Why I read it: Recommendation from a friend
This was a very fast read because the general pace of the book was very fast. I enjoyed the character transformations of the family unit, and I really loved Matt’s character (I love when you can’t decide if a character is a friend or foe). While the events of the book are not entirely realistic (getting onto a ferry with the shadiest looking characters where you know you won’t have connection with the civilized world…who would do that?), and while some of the lines are a bit corny and pretty cringeworthy, I truly found the book entertaining and was fully invested in it from beginning to end. I found it creepy in some parts and suspenseful in others. It had some decent twists that left the reader shocked and rethinking other events that had happened “with certainty.” Apparently, it’s being made into a Hulu series, and I would love to watch it when it comes out for streaming!