Cover Image: The Other Guest

The Other Guest

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Member Reviews

Read if you like: Cat and mouse, family drama, dual POV, gripping thrillers, slow burn, character driven 

After a shocking death at a luxurious Italian resort, two very different women must question everything and everyone in order to get the truth. 

One year ago, Leah’s feisty 21-year-old niece, Amy, mysteriously drowned in the beautiful lake near her family-owned resort in Northern Italy. Leah’s grief has lead her to return to Lake Garda. Her sister, brother-in-law, and surviving niece, Olivia, seem to have erased all memories of Amy. They also fought to have her death declared an accidental drowning, despite murky circumstances. Leah knows she must uncover what truly happened to Amy, even if her digging places both her family ties and her life in danger.

Meanwhile, in Central England, thirtysomething Joanna is recovering from a surprising break-up when she is swept off her feet by a handsome bartender. She learns that he is on the run from something in his past and their meeting may not have been a coincidence. 

Wow. This is an insane cat-and mouse game with two seemingly-unconnected women. I could not put this book down. The family drama, the twists, the slow burn, yesss. This was very character driven. Everyone seemed like the villian at times. I loved it. This is my first read by Helen Cooper and won't be my last. I highly recommend this book!

Thank you so much to NetGalley, the author, Penguin Group Putnam Books for the gifted e-book. ❤️
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Secrets are deadly in this character driven, slow burn thriller. Guilt is a heavy burden as true villains come to light. Was Amy murdered, or was she a victim of unfortunate circumstances? This story is presented as a puzzle that eventually comes together exposing the dark and dangerous side of humanity. I enjoyed putting the pieces together and was satisfied and surprised with the outcome. The mystery is atmospheric, suspenseful and entertaining. This is the first book I have read from this author, but definitely won’t be the last. Thank you NetGalley and Penguin Group Putnam for my copy.
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This book was released late July and I am very late in my reading and reviews. I think if I would’ve read this in the summer, the vibes could’ve been a bit better. But, as it stands right now The Other Guest is a very average, run of the mill mystery. This book is not a thriller, if you go in thinking it is you will be disappointed. 

My main issues with this book were that it took too long for anything of substance to happen, one of the POVs didn’t serve any purpose until about 75% of the way through the book, and it was marketed as a mystery/thriller, but I would categorize it as a slow-paced family drama with a slightly mysterious death. 

I think Leah’s POV was the strongest, but I wish that she was maybe a jilted detective instead of a lawyer and had more of a sleuthing vibe. 

Overall, a good book to read by the beach, but don’t expect a lot from it.

Thank you to Netgalley and Penguin Group Putnam, G.P. Putnam’s Sons for the advanced eARC of this book.
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3 for neutral, was unable to access my netgalley account for months, until today. Because of this, I was unable to see which books I needed to read.  I apologize for the inconvenience and hopefully will not have any more issues in future.
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The Other Guest is an addictive, twisty thriller that is sure to hook readers from start to finish. The story follows Leah returning to Italy for the first time since her 21 year old niece drowned under mysterious circumstances at their family-owned luxury resort. Everyone seems to forgot that it happened, but Leah is determined to find out what actually happened years ago. If you enjoy fast-paced, unpredictable thrillers, The Other Guest is one that cannot be missed. Highly recommended!
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*Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for this ARC in exchange for my honest review*

Intriguing and engaging from beginning to end.  I can't wait to read more titles by Helen Cooper!
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3.5 stars!

The Other Guest follows two women-Leah and Joanna-two seemingly unconnected women. Leah is going back to Northern Italy in the wake of her 21 year old niece's death. She is surprised when she arrives at her sister's resort and finds that they have erased all memory of her niece. The photos have been taken down, they barely mention her, and they fought to have her death marked as accidental. 

Meanwhile, Joanna is getting back into the swing of things after being broken up with by her long-term partner. When a mysterious, handsome bartender sweeps her up into his past, Joanna becomes nervous that he might have been too good to be true.

As the novel unfolds, we find out what exactly is going on with these women, and whether or not they may be connected in some way.

I thought this book was fine. When writing this review, I found that I didn't remember a lot of what happened. I think where the book shined was in the very descriptive atmosphere of the Italian resort. However, I wasn't very invested in the mystery aspect, nor did I connect with any of the characters that much. I would definitely be interested in reading more from this author in the future, but this novel just didn't do it for me.
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It's been about a year since Leah's niece, Amy, drowned during a storm at the high-end Italian resort - Il Mandarino - that Amy's parents own. With Leah on forced bereavement live from work, she decides its finally time to face the place her beloved niece perished. But what she finds there does little to put her mind at ease: it seems that nearly every trace of Amy has been erased and any talk of her death is avoided, despite the suspicious circumstances. Back in England, a young woman named Joanna, reeling from a bad break-up, meets a new potential date, but finds him to be cagey and sparse on personal details. When he gets into a bad accident, she feels obligated to take him in, but is it safe for her to do so? As these two stories intersect, a picture forms that shows something sinister lurking under the surface of the glamorous facade of Il Mandarino.

The book is told from three points-of-view: Leah's, Joanna's, and Amy's, in the past leading up to her death.

From the plot description, things may seem a bit convoluted and complicated, but trust me, it all comes together nicely, and it's not as hard to understand and it seems. in fact, this book is really enjoyable and has great levels of suspense and drama that really pulled me in. The solution was one I did not see coming at all, and was quite a surprise, which was nice. There were plenty of good twists and turns in there that lead us to the solution, though I think one of the big ones is pretty obvious right from the beginning. but there are still plenty of others that pay a punch.

Leah and Joanna were both great characters to choose as a main characters, with the others being perfectly creepy, mysterious side characters, particularly Leah's family at Il Mandarino, who really up the weirdness factor. It makes it much more suspenseful and delightful.

Overall, this was an exceptionally suspenseful and unique novel that I would recommend to any fan of the genre. It's a nice, but creepy, Italian getaway.
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Featuring ~ multiple POV's ~ 1st person (Amy) & 3 person (Joanna & Leah), dual timeline, mystery

Joanna is fresh off a break up when she meets Callum. They've only had one date when he is involved in an accident. He doesn't have any next of kin and somehow Joanna is thrown into helping him heal by moving him in with her. What's up with this guy though, does he have an ulterior motive for wanting to be close to Joanna?

Leah is finally feeling like she is able to visit her family's resort a year after her niece, Amy, died there. She's not liking what she sees when she gets there and starts an investigation of her own to try to find out what really happened to Amy. I liked this part of the story.

This one was slow going for me. We knew that Joanna and Leah's lives would collide somehow, but it took a while to get there. I am so happy there was Amy's POV, so we had a better understanding of what happened to her. All in all a decent read.

I was able to listen to the final version on audio as well, so I went back and forth reading and listening. Sofia Zervudachi did a fine job narrating for 11 hours and 39 minutes, easy to follow at 2x.
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The Other Guest by Helen Cooper is a mystery that centers on 2 main characters seemingly unrelated, Leah and Joanna. Leah, a successful attorney, has been forced to take a leave by her employer after engaging in a verbal altercation with a client. With time on her hands, as well as, unresolved questions about the death of her niece the previous year, she decides to visit her sister at the family resort in Italy. Leah’s niece, Amy has drowned in the lake at the resort. However, something doesn’t add up, as Amy was a good swimmer. Leah has unresolved questions about Amy’s death that have contributed to her anger and sadness over the past year. She hopes to resolve her questions about the death on her visit to the resort. Joanna is a young woman trying to get her life back on track after a surprising break up with her long-time boyfriend. In an effort to get back out and socialize, she goes to a neighborhood bar and strikes up a conversation with a friendly bar tender, Callum. Unfortunately, she is soon drawn into something darker, based upon her willingness to help this seemingly friendless, kind, good-looking bartender. This book was a slow read, perhaps due to my difficulty at first with the different characters, locations, and wondering how everything would be connected. As I got into the book, and connected with the characters a little more, it was a quicker, more interesting read. I enjoyed this book and the plot and appreciated the complexity with which the author entwined two different storylines and characters once I got to the end. I look forward to reading other novels by this author. It was a solid work of mystery fiction that left me wanting to read more by Helen Cooper. Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the advance review copy in exchange for my honest review.
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*Thank you to Penguin Group Putnam, NetGalley, and Helen Cooper for an ARC in exchange for an honest review*

Previously published at https://www.mysteryandsuspense.com/the-other-guest/


“The family coil so twisted, tight and loose

anyone trying to leave

has to strafe the field

burn the premises down”

― Adrienne Rich, Your Native Land, Your Life

Helen Cooper’s sophomore novel is a thriller composed of three parallel story lines, which don’t come together until the very last chapters. A brilliant interweaving of plots, where the reader will think they know the connection but are left stupefied that they were wrong on most accounts.  

We first meet Joanna Greenfield, a school counselor at the University of Derby in England. Her 16 year relationship with Luke has just ended, and she is struggling when she meets Callum Foley, a bartender at the pub she frequents. They begin to date casually, as she is not ready for more. But when she receives a phone call from the local hospital, that Callum has been in a terrible accident and has put her name as next of kin, it surprises her as they have only gone on one date! 

Confused and suspicious, she goes to the hospital where he is in ICU after a car ran him down in the street. She is also struggling with the attempted suicide of a student she felt responsible for. On the verge of an anxiety attack, she struggles with guilt and feeling like she should not be the one there when she wakes up. 

As Callum wakes up, the dr. suggests that Callum should stay with Joanna as he will need help his first few days. She is not happy but feels compelled to have him stay with her. She soon finds out that he is not who he says he is, and when pressed for answers, she knows he is lying. Who is Callum Foley and why has he pursued her? And why is Luke, her ex, asking to talk to her?

We then meet Leah Hannell, arriving by ferry to Lake Garda, Italy, where her sister, Charlotte and her family own Il Mandarino, an exclusive resort on the lake. She has not been to Il Mandarino since her 21-year-old niece, Amy, drowned in a mysterious incident several months before. Amy’s death was deemed an accident but when Leah arrives, she is surprised to see that all memories of Amy, including pictures, have been removed and no one in the family wants to discuss her death. We are also taken by flashbacks back to Amy and the day and night of her death. After Leah asks questions about what happened the night Amy died, she is immediately shut down by Gordon, her brother-in-law, and Olivia, her other niece. What are they hiding? Why is Leah getting notes in her room warning her to stop asking questions? 

The flashbacks to Amy’s last day on the island, her crush on the mysterious bartender, Nate, and her last interactions with her sister Olivia bring more questions to her death. They paint a picture of a young woman trapped by the expectations of her family, and planning her escape off the island. These chapters are chilling in their finality, knowing how hard she tried to escape the restrictions of Il Mandarino. When Leah searches out Francesca, whom Amy was on her way to see that night, Francesca gives her a sim card with a chilling voicemail from Amy that turns everything upside down. 

I was completely addicted to The Other Guest about two chapters in. I was eager to know how Leah Harnell and Johanna Greenfield connect, and they completely drew me to their stories, wondering what the factor was that would bring them together. This novel as thriller as mystery is absolutely ingenious with themes of wealth, loyalty, lies, and keeping up appearances. The prose is gorgeous, as is the setting of Lake Garda and the descriptions of the Il Mandarino resort (a whole other character), with lush trees, little walkways, and exclusive villas. The last two chapters will keep you riveted as you finally learn what happened to Amy, and it’s not what you think!
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Leah and Joanna are the two women the book focuses on. They have a connection to one another that is not revealed until later on in the story. Leah's niece Amy drowned under mysterious circumstances a year ago, while Joanna is dealing with an unexpected breakup and then being swept off her feet by a new love. This book was a slow burn kind of read, but with enough suspense and twists to keep you hooked on it. It is told from the perspectives of Amy before her death, as well as Joanna and Leah. Overall it was a great read and I loved the ending, it was unexpected. Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the advanced reader copy.
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I liked the way the dual perspective was done as I could not figure out how they were going to connect. I didn't particularly like any of the characters and they are a bit forgettable, but overall this was a fast-paced mystery with family secrets and intrigue and it was fun.

Thanks to Penguin Group Putnam for a free galley in exchange for an honest review.
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I really really loved this book. I'm typically not a fan of each chapter being told from another character but it worked so well in this book! Every chapter gave just enough to keep me flipping the pages!
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Helen Cooper, I adore you !

The Other Guest, is a book that will sit with you long after you conclude. The amount of time and editing that must have went into this book shows. Nothing was rushed or repetitive. I was never bored or had the urge to take a break. I picked this book up and did not put it down until I finished. 

The story line was executed with perfection, the characters were fascinating and multi dimensional. I was completely and totally obsessed with this book from start to finish and I am unable to stop raving about it!!

Do you hear me loud and clear? BUY THE BOOK!!! 

I read A LOT of psychological thrillers, I love them beyond measure but at times when you read as many as I do, you tend to have read the same story over and over with minor changes. Vengeful wife, cheating husbands, etc. The Other Guest, breaks the mold and has a completely unique plot . I can predict most books usually by midpoint. However, this book packs a twist that I could never anticipate coming. 

Five Stars, without a doubt. 

Big thank you to Helen Cooper, G.P. Putnam's Sons and Netgalley for allowing me to read and review The Other Guest in exchange for an honest review.
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As soon as I read the premise of The Other Guest, I knew I had to read it. Set in Northern Italy at an opulent resort, it had the makings of an unforgettable and intense domestic suspense. Unfortunately, it fell quite a bit short of that. 

Let us start with what I liked about Helen Cooper’s sophomore novel.  Overall, I thought her character development was good, all the characters felt multi-dimensional and I could see them existing off the page. I also liked the ambience created, particularly at the Italian resort, that although bright and luxurious, was veiled in darkness. There was an overall sense of foreboding that I think Cooper nails.

My issues revolve primarily around the plot. I am not sure if it was the pacing of the plot line, or the overall writing style, but the first two-thirds of the story felt slow and hard to connect with. Once I reached the mid-way point, it began to take shape and my interest picked up. There were a few interesting twists and turns, but ultimately, the ending fell flat for me.

While I went back and forth between print and audio for this one, I did prefer the audio narration. Read by Sofia Zervudachi, it was clear and concise and very easy to follow along with. If you would like to give this one a read, I suggest doing it via audio. 

Thank you to NetGalley and Putnam for my ARC of this book, and to PRH Audio for my ALC, in exchange for my honest review.
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It’s been a year since Leah’s niece drowned in a boating accident at the Italian resort owned by her family.  Now Leah is returning to the luxury resort, with the hope that she will be able to understand how her niece died. Meanwhile in England, Joanna is dealing with the aftermath of a painful break-up as well as the possibility of a new relationship.  These two women will soon find themselves caught up in a web of lies and conspiracies.

The Other Guest has a fantastic plot that is both intricate and compelling.  The story is told from several points of view and timeframes, and the author does a good job moving between them.  The characters are well-developed and the descriptions of the resort give the story even more depth.  However, I found it difficult to become involved with any of the characters and, at times, the story itself seemed to move at a very slow pace. Maybe more of a slow burn than I expected it to be.  Nevertheless, the plot twists kept me engaged through most of the story and the ending was satisfying even though it wasn’t neatly tied up with a bow.

Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing a copy of this book for review.
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British author Helen Cooper has followed up her twisty debut thriller, The Downstairs Neighbor (reviewed here) with another thriller about a secretive family. While The Other Guest doesn’t have the same emotional resonance as its predecessor, Cooper continues to demonstrate the tight plotting that all thriller readers appreciate. 

Nine months ago, 21-year-old Amy drowned accidentally at her family’s upscale resort on Lake Garda, Italy. Now her aunt, Leah, has come to Il Mandarino to comfort her sister Charlotte and try to come to terms with the girl’s death—especially her guilt about avoiding her niece’s last call. But Charlotte, her husband Gordon and younger niece Olivia seem more concerned with the resort’s reputation than mourning Amy. Leah’s questions remain unanswered, and the family is quick to parrot the police investigation’s finding of accidental death. Going through Amy’s room, Leah finds a photo of her niece with the resort’s bartender, who left the resort after the girl died amidst rumors that they were involved. Could Nate have had something to do with Amy’s death?

Click on the link for the complete review.
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I was SOOOOOOOOOOO looking forward to this book but the story was rather disappointing. Very slow moving and an overall lackluster plot. I could easily have skipped this one and not been sorry. The cover is amazing and was 100% the reason I picked this one up. Sadly a miss for me. Much thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for an early digital copy in exchange for my honest review!
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It took me a while to get interested in this book, but once I did, I was hooked! I enjoyed the writing style and character development. The different points of view and settings kept the book interesting, especially seeing why two seemingly unrelated characters have something in common. This book is worth four stars, and is a fun summer read. Thanks for the advance review copy.
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