Cover Image: The Weekend Escape

The Weekend Escape

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Member Reviews

A group of friends, secrets and an uninhabited island combine to create an enjoyable, rollercoaster of a thriller by Rakie Bennett.

Six old schoolfriends reunite for a weekend of outdoor pursuits on Shell Island. Ten years ago, as school goers, the group were firm friends and frequently went abseiling and Rick climbing together. No adventure was too big in those days. Now however, there are slight rifts appearing within the group and their secrets are slowly driving them further apart.

As the storm approaches the island, 
Lyndsey, Sonia, Bobbie, Amanda, Juliet, and Val realise that the first accident may not be an accident after all. Not shortly, a tragedy occurs. Now the women realise that someone is targeting them. But is the threat coming from someone hiding on the island, or is one of the group to blame?

As the tale progresses, our formerly close-knit group of friends start to suspect each other and attempt to escape with terrible results. 

There have been numerous attempts to use the uninhabited island/remote location, group of individuals, storm etc tale but for me the greatest version is 'And then there were none' by Agatha Christie. 'The Weekend Escape' makes an admirable attempt to ape the tension and excitement of the aforementioned novel. Yet, this tale is more predictable and I was able to guess the truth fairly early on. Perhaps the clues provided by the author are a little too obvious but this does not take from a well-written tale.
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When the old ‘college gang’ get together on one of those ‘fun’ wild abandoned islands, it doesn’t take long for old tensions and disagreements to resurface. Accidents and strange things that go bump in the night. A bit confusing and a bit sinister, this tale will keep you reading past your bedtime to find out what exactly happened to Cherry, and what is actually going on. Accidents or sabotage?

Thanks to #NetGalley for the opportunity to read this ahead of publication in exchange for an honest review
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Finished this in one literal, 4 hour sitting. I could not put it down. Extremely atmospheric, completely riveting, full of surprises and twists that I genuinely didn't see coming. I really love the stranded feel of this story and this was such a great read.
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My thanks to Net Galley and the publisher for allowing me to review. 

6 friends get together on an island for a vacation/retreat.  What starts out as fun turns into murder, revenge,secrets revealed, and plotting the friends to turn against each other.

The premise was very intriguing.  I thought it had a bit of And Then There Were None element, but as the book progressed it was things I've seen before in plots.  Ending just let you hanging.  I didn't hate this but my expectations were a bit higher.
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Shell Island

Six high school friends now in their thirty's decide to embark on a climbing weekend on an Island. They haven't actually interacted with each other for years but Juliet has gathered the old group together for a weekend to reminisce and reconnect. That is six of them as the seventh member is dead but that is a secret that is never talked about. There is Juliet the leader, Lyndsey, Amanda, Val, Bobbie and Sonia.

It starts off badly with Amanda falling during the first climb, a mysterious cut rope, a dilapidated cottage, an odd game warden and stormy weather. Then other odd things begin to happen and one of them ends up dead on a cliff. Then it gets very strange and no one trusts any of the others and least of all the game warden.

The radio is broken so they try different ways to get the attention of the mainland, but they fail in most of their attempts. The storm breaks the lights are out, the heat is off and they do not know if any will survive.
Are they alone on the island, or is there someone else on the island stalking them? What other happening take place and what secrets are revealed. Each of them have secrets and it appears all of them begin to emerge. Will they be rescued, will any of them survive?

This was an exciting mystery with suspense and a lot of juicy secrets. Very interesting story. I would recommend it.

Thanks to Rakie Bennett, Harper Collins U.K. , One More Chapter, and NetGalley for allowing me to read a complimentary copy of the book for my honest review.
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Rating:  3.0/5

I had not previously read anything by Rakie Bennett, though I am aware that she has written other books under the names of Rachel Bennett and Rakie Keig.  Having just completed the book I am left with mixed feelings about it.  There are facets that I really enjoyed, but there are other aspects that I found disappointing and even a little irksome.

"The Weekend Escape" contains a number of elements that will be very familiar to regular readers of the genre:  A  remote island setting; a group of friends trying to rekindle the strength of their past relationship with each other; limited ability to communicate with the outside world; inclement weather adding to the sense of isolation; a dramatic past event; secrets being kept from other members of the group; and last, but not least, a mysterious death.

In the opening chapters I really wasn't convinced that this was going to be the book for me.  The way it began seemed more like the opening to a short story rather than a novel, where the reader is dropped straight into the action without any scene-setting.  My initial feelings of doubt were not helped by the fact that the writing in the first few chapters struck me as being a bit clunky and simplistic.  In addition, there is quite a large cast of characters and in the early encounters it wasn't easy to distinguish between them.  Although it improved markedly as the novel progressed I wasn't particularly impressed with the dialogue at this stage either.  Stylistically, I was also uncomfortable with the writer's repeated use of contractions (must've, could've, should've, it'd, etc.).  I have no issue with this being employed in dialogue, but I find it grating when it is used in the narrative text.  (This aspect isn't confined to the early chapters and continues throughout the novel.)

I hate not finishing a book, but I was preparing myself for this one to be a struggle.  Thankfully, once the story gets into its stride it actually becomes an enjoyable mystery adventure - though the pace did wane unnecessarily at times and could have benefitted from some further editing.  That said, Rakie Bennett makes good use of the setting to add a strong sense of menace throughout.  The group dynamics are constantly shifting as paranoia sets in and suspicion of each other builds.  There are a number of very well-written sections when the heart-pounding tension is palpable.  I also had strong liking for the way the author chose to end the story, though for the sake of remaining as spoiler-free as possible, I shall say no more than that.

All in all, I found this an enjoyable reading experience.  Although there were certain aspects that didn't sit well with me, there is nothing to say that other readers will feel the same way and I would still happily recommend this as a worthwhile read.

Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for supplying an ARC in return for an honest review.
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I really enjoyed this book and found the drama started quite quickly into the book and the story got going and kept going at a good pace.  I did feel the book ended slightly prematurely without providing a certainty as to what happened to everyone.  The story is mainly focused from Lynsey’s point of view, although I didn’t feel you found out much about her as a person.  A good thriller which kept you guessing the majority of the way through.
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The storms and relations that developed when the 'friends' arrived for their adventure weekend was gripping. Ten years since the accident, who was to blame.? Who may die and who will survive? Exciting and gripping right through til the end.
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Good thriller and a "Who Done it" book.  Friends come together for a climb and relaxation.  But there is a killer among them, and things seem to unravel fast.  
I had a difficult time for the first few chapters connecting to the characters.  I would have like just a little background prior to the climb, to make relating to them and keeping track of them easier.  That being said, overall a great read.  Lots of twists and turns.  
I received an advance copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
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Such a great story with so much going on! I suspected the culprit then changed my mind but was absolutely gripped to know what was happening.
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A gripping story, to some extent the classic, a group of friends, stuck together in an isolated place, and one is intent on killing them all off. However, this differed from the “norm”. The setting was different, the purpose of the weekend was very unusual, a group of women getting together for a climbing and activity break, and the characters were intriguing. The main character was a bit of an enigma, and none were stereotypical. Thrown into the mix was the mystery of what had happened to their teenage friend. Was it a sinister plot of a tragic accident? Definitely a page turner.
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A good debut novel by Rakie Bennett. It was a real page turner with action from the very start to the very end. My main issue is that there wasn't a lot of lead up to the action, which left a lot of characters feeling very flat until later on. I struggled to connect with any of them not knowing their backstory, or their relationships, or anything about them.
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A fast read. Full of action and suspense. A bunch of friends in an isolated island during a bad storm. What could go wrong? Apparently everything. 

Thank you NetGalley for this arc
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A deserted island, a vicious storm, a murderer amongst friends. 
That sounds like a book right up my alley! I love locked-room style mysteries, and this one did not disappoint. 

Six friends reunite for a fun weekend of abseiling and rock climbing on Shell Island. Unfortunately for them, things start to go wrong from the beginning when one friend gets hurt in a fall. Things go from bad to worse when they realize the radio is broken and a storm is threatening to cut them off from the mainland. Is someone intentionally sabotaging their trip? The higher the stakes, the more the friends start to turn on each other and reveal their real reasons for escaping to this island. 
A lot of secrets-and blood-will be spilled before this weekend is over. 

This book was so much fun to read! There are six characters, which can get confusing, but they all had distinctive personalities and agendas that made them easy to distinguish. And they all had motive, which made it interesting in trying to determine which one was the murderer. There was also some really funny one-liners throughout the book that added some comic relieve. For example: "I'm pretty sure this is a hospital. I mean, if it's not, I've got queries...about the catheter, in particular." Maybe it's just my weird sense of humor, but this book had me cracking up a few times. Additionally, I enjoyed the ending. It was a bit ambiguous, which left me thinking about this book long after I had finished it. 

If your a fan of locked-room mysteries, definitely give this one a read. 

Thank you to NetGalley for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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This isn't an original story. It was easy to predict what was going on and why, so if you've read a lot of thrillers and are expecting something groundbreaking,  you won't find it here. 

However, it is exceptionally well executed and thoroughly enjoyable, so you forgive its many flaws. The ending was a nice little touch.

Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC without publication.
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Thank you to NetGalley and One More Chapter for an eARC of The Weekend Escape prior to pub day on October 8th! 3.5/5 stars.

This is a solid, well written who-dun-it with lots of twists and turns. If you like a locked room mystery (or island), you're in for a treat with this one. 

For the first half I was confused about which character was who, but was able to keep track in the last half. I guessed the ending, but it was well-done and wrapped up nicely.
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The storms and relations that developed when the 'friends' arrived for their adventure weekend was gripping. Ten years since the accident who was to blame. Who may die and who will survive? Intriguing until the end.
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This book is full of twists and turns, and surprises around every corner. The characters are skillfully drawn and remain quite memorable long after the unexpected conclusion.
Brilliantly written, that kept me hooked from the first page. At times I just couldn’t read quick enough to find out what was going to happen next.
Full marks go to R Bennett
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3.5 stars 

A claustrophobic and oppressive mystery with our protagonists trapped on a deserted island. The group of friends at the reunion is cleverly described with tensions and history shared between them. The ominous weather together with the unreliable narration of Lindsay creates a chilling atmosphere.
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A weekend escape? A lovely time out with friends? Beautiful scenery? If you think this is going to be a cosy 'famous five' mystery then you are mistaken! A dark thriller with people you will not want to get to know. This book will grip you and have you thinking about your own friendships and how you too would cope. 
I love books set in the UK, especially coastal locations. I realise that this one is fictional but it has all the markings and elements of a British island and that for me made it all the more thrilling as this was not set in some exotic TV reality isle in warm sunshine and tropical seas. 
Well written, it builds well and keeps you guessing through out.  If you like a good thriller with a great dose of human psychology thrown in then this is for you!
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