Publication Date: 21 October 2020
Four friends. One luxury getaway. The perfect murder.
French Alps, 1998
Two young men ski into a blizzard… but only one returns.
20 years later
Four people connected to the missing man find themselves in that same resort. Each has a secret. Two may have blood on their hands. One is a killer-in-waiting.
Someone knows what really happened that day.
And somebody will pay.
An exciting new debut for anyone who loves Ruth Ware, Lucy Foley, and C.L. Taylor
This mystery/thriller follows a group of people staying in a luxury ski chalet in the French Alps. When a body is found on the slopes, links are made to a disappearance 20 years earlier and events are set in motion leading to a dramatic conclusion.
The author has chosen a terrific setting for this story. If there’s a killer on the loose, the last place I would want to find myself is stranded in a secluded mountain village in the middle of a blizzard! However, saying that, the chalet where they are stranded does appear to be wonderfully luxurious. I’m imagining stunning views across the mountain range, fur throws, wood-burners and champagne on tap – it does all sound rather wonderful!
Despite the gorgeous setting, the characters themselves are not particularly likeable. From the secretive Ria and her dull husband Hugo, to the meek Cass and her crass husband Simon, no one seems to be having a good time. None of the narrators struck me as being particularly reliable, however the author does take the time to focus on the development of certain characters and whilst I may not have liked them, I did find the characters backstories to be particularly interesting.
The story has a great flow to it. Told in first person narration whilst switching between several vantage points, it also includes a dual timeline with the inclusion of flashbacks to some 20 years earlier. The story is well-plotted with a compelling backstory and the structure encourages the reader to become fully immersed in the story whilst the layers are gradually peeled back. There are a few decent twists in the plot, one of which I did not foresee – I love it when I get caught off guard by a good plot twist! – along with a couple of red-herrings thrown in for a bit of misdirection.
The Chalet is the first novel from Catherine Cooper and, in my opinion, it’s a solid debut. It’s tense and absorbing, a real page turner that kept me gripped until the very last page. I would be happy to recommend The Chalet to anyone who enjoys a fast paced and well written mystery/psychological thriller. I’ll definitely be keeping an eye out for the author’s next book, which I believe is due to be published sometime in 2021.
Huge thanks to Harper Collins and Netgalley for providing me with an advanced copy of the book for review.
About the Author (in her own words!)
I am a freelance journalist living in the South of France with my husband and two teenage children. We moved from London in 2009 so that the children could grow up bilingual and we could all ski more, and to enjoy a more relaxed pace of life.
I learned to ski on a school trip when I was 14 and have loved it ever since. The Chalet is set in a fictional ski resort in the French Alps which is a kind of amalgam of some I have been lucky enough to visit over the years. Many design aspects of the chalet itself are inspired by some of the luxury hotels I have reviewed – though obviously it is entirely fictional!
I’m an avid thriller reader and have been since I discovered Agatha Christie as a child.
The Chalet is my first published full-length novel, though I have also written several (unpublished) thrillers for teens and a (what used to be called) chick lit novel set in TV production.
Other than skiing and reading I love travel, theme parks (the pic on this page was taken on a rollercoaster in Spain) and I spend far too much time on social media. Some of my other favourite things include Alan Partridge, sparkly flip flops and salt and vinegar crisps.