A gripping new psychological thriller from S.J. Watson, the bestselling author of Before I Go to Sleep and Second Life.
Blackwood Bay. An ordinary place, home to ordinary people.
It used to be a buzzing seaside destination, but for generations Blackwood Bay, a quaint village in northern England, has been famous only for the smuggling that occurred along its coastline centuries ago. Now, ravaged by the effects of dwindling tourism and economic downturn, it’s a ghost town. But then two local girls disappear bringing the town a fresh and dark notoriety.
When Alex, an ambitious documentary filmmaker, arrives in Blackwood Bay, she intends to have the residents record their own stories as her next project. Instead of a quaint community, Alex finds a village blighted by economic downturn and haunted by a tragedy that overshadows every corner. The community is also deeply suspicious of her intentions. After all, nothing exciting ever happens in Blackwood Bay – or does it?
Alex pushes on with her work, but secrets old and new rise to the surface, raising tensions and suspicions in a town already on edge. Alex’s work takes her to dark places and uncomfortable truths, which threaten to lead to a deadly unravelling.
For most thriller readers, S.J. Watson needs no introductions. His hugely successful novel, Before I Go to Sleep sold 6,000,000 copies and was turned into a film starring Nicole Kidman. But for someone like me, thrust into reading thrillers for work (and incredibly happy I have been as it turns out) this was my first of his novels.
And I couldn’t put it down.
Final Cut is a darkly atmospheric read, filled with complex, and some creepy, characters and enough twists and turns to keep you reading well into the night. S.J. Watson was a recent guest for one of our Live Book Events, and if you missed that, it’s really worth watching. He talks about his desire to set a story in Robin Hood’s Bay, which was the inspiration for Blackwood Bay. The setting here is richly drawn and plays a big role in creating tension.
I don’t want to give too much away, but I really liked Alex and the exploration of how the human brain can deal with trauma, and the unravelling of her backstory and memory loss. Watson’s writing is polished and the story well-paced right from the start, really picking up in the final third as it heads towards a dramatic and rather sad conclusion. He uses a number of different writing devices, such as timelines called ‘then’ and ‘now’, case reports, and emails to drive the story forward.
Final Cut is another cracking read from S.J. Watson, a psychological thriller with thrills and depth. I’m off to catch up on his backlist now, joining his countless fans around the globe.