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Blog Tour Review - The Only Way Out is Death by Varun Gwalani

 Blog Tour Review - The Only Way Out is Death by Varun Gwalani Twelve powerful people are kidnapped and imprisoned in an empty hotel. Each one of them has three choices: Live out the rest of their days peacefully in the hotel, Die by suicide so the rest of their companions can go free, Or murder one of their companions so they alone can go free. The Only Way Out is Death follows the story of these twelve people from the perspective of a young lawyer, Kiriaki, told as the events unfold. She has to forge messy alliances, navigate complex relationships and feuds, and, above all, try to stay alive. Meanwhile, the mastermind of this death game is lurking just out of view, watching them closely, making sure they are primed for murder. Will Kiriaki find the mastermind before it's too late for her? Will she outmanoeuvre the cutthroats before they cut her throat? There are twelve selfish lives in the hotel. Will it end in twelve selfish deaths? The Only Way Out is Death is a fascinating nov

Review - The Wayward Girls by Amanda Mason

Review - The Wayward Girls by Amanda Mason


1976. Loo and her sister Bee live in a run-down cottage in the middle of nowhere, with their artistic parents and wild siblings. Their mother, Cathy, had hoped to escape to a simpler life; instead the family find themselves isolated and shunned by their neighbours. At the height of the stifling summer, unexplained noises and occurences in the house begin to disturb the family, until they intrude on every waking moment . . .


Loo, now Lucy, is called back to her childhood home. A group of strangers are looking to discover the truth about the house and the people who lived there. But is Lucy ready to confront what really happened all those years ago?

The Wayward Girls is a beautiful and haunting book.

It's a story told across two times, the long, hot summer of 1976 and the present day. (Appropriate given how much people have been talking about that summer in the present heatwave.)

In 1976, a family living on a fairly remote farm are being haunted, starting with knocking on the walls, but quickly escalating to objects being thrown around and more. Specialist paranormal investigators and a photographer come in to try and find out what's happening and to gather proof. At the centre of the supernatural events are two young girls, Bee (Bianca) and Loo (Lucia).

In the present day narrative a group of students have gone to the house, now empty and derelict, with cameras and other equipment to look for their own proof. Loo, now Lucy, tries to dissuade them and then joins them as they uncover evidence of the paranormal. 

There's such a slow, eerie revealing of events from 1976 as the two narratives play out together. There are hints and suggestions about some of what happened but it takes its time playing out, teasing the reader in a way that had me gripped.

There's an almost ethereal, whimsical quality to it, a haunting beauty that reminded me of things like Picnic at Hanging Rock or Virgin Suicides, as events slowly but surely build up to tragedy over the course of many long, hot summer days. There's a real subtlety to it as well, relationships left unclear, often little more than lingering glances or jealous looks. 

And like all great ghost stories, I was left wondering what had been real.


The Wayward Girls by Amanda Mason is out now, published by Bonnier Books.

I was given a review copy via Netgalley in return for an honest review.


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