Romance and thriller combine in this quick read set in New Zealand. The writing is evocative of its setting; I could imagine the steep cliffs, pounding ocean, and dense forest.
However, the characterization was deeply clichéd – tough (but beautiful!) woman with hard past meets tough cop with hard past. Most of the secondary characters were one dimensional. In particular, the missing girl was ecstatically described as beautiful and lively multiple times throughout the novel. In fact, every time she is mentioned, the reader is reminded of her long-legged beauty and lust for life and told what a shame that such a beautiful girl has to disappear! As if it ISN’T a shame when an ugly or depressed girl (or boy or them) disappears.
Despite the thin characterization, the plot drew me in, and I wanted to see what happened. And then it happened – the resolution seemed to come out of nowhere. We’d been given hints to the villain, but we go from mild suspicions to Scooby-Doo-style confession from one chapter to the next: “I’m going to murder you but first slowly explain to you all the other bad things I’ve done!” Meanwhile, tough cop figures out another crime with literally zero buildup. Comically, he tells his love interest “I’ll be right back after I finish solving this crime.” I literally said “come on!” out loud on the subway as I was finishing it.
This was a quick read with a unique setting but I don’t necessarily recommend it except maybe as a light beach or plane read. The plot is predictable and the characters don’t come to life.