Mark Edwards is an author I found through Kindle Unlimited; I subscribed for three free months and decided on this book as I was in the mood for a sort of “cabin in the woods” sort of theme. When I read the blurb that this book was about a man who goes away for a writer’s retreat and the people whom he lives with start to act oddly, I was hooked.
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The Retreat is the perfect cosey thriller that I read almost three years ago now. It’s mostly about Lucas, a horror author who had a hit book but has struggled to follow it up since travelling to try and find his mojo again. However, the house he ends up at seems to have some odd goings-on and he’s not sure it’s somewhere he really wants to stay for much longer.
Plot – 5/5
The owner of the aforementioned house is Julia and two years ago her husband tragically drowned trying to save their daughter Lily from the river near their home. Her daughter’s body was never found so presumed dead. Lucas comes along to her rural retreat and becomes obsessed with this tale and trying to find out of Lily is still alive or not. When his investigation leads him deeper into the rabbit hole, it becomes darker than he could have imagined.
I must say I was hooked throughout this whole book. I was always wanting to pick it up and know what was coming next. Mark Edwards does a great job of drip-feeding you just enough teasers to keep you interested without giving you too much that you no longer feel the need to read on. The setting is cosey but also creepy enough and this adds to the want to continue reading. I was a big fan of this book’s story and the constant tendrils it had on me.
Characters – 4/5
The characters in this book are loveable, but more importantly, believable. Julia has become silently obsessed with finding her daughter who she simply won’t believe has died. And Lucas is empathetic whilst remaining expectedly cautious after hearing the story not only from Julia’s mouth but from other members of the local town also. There’s no sense of over heroism that you might come to expect here from Lucas. In fact, there’s almost a sense of selfishness as he’s intrigued by this story and he knows it will make for a fantastic horror novel. However, when things start to get a bit too real, his attitude changes and he becomes more and more cautious about his next steps.
Summary – 5/5
The Retreat by Mark Edwards is a fantastic novel that will grip you from very early on and not let go until the last few pages. There are certainly some horror elements to this book, so if you’re not into that, I would avoid this one. However, if you like being pulled in, scared a little and constantly questioned as to whether you’ve guessed what’s going to happen or not, I’d definitely suggest picking this up. This book comes under both the thriller and mystery genres as I guarantee you’ll be thrilled by this mystery.