Book review: The Pool House by Tasmina Perry

Wednesday, September 6, 2017 Permalink

It sounds terrible but I put this book aside for a shorter one before getting to it. By now you probably realise I’m a stickler for the rules. Especially my own. And I’m kinda anally obsessive. Albeit in a nice and vaguely-sane way.

However, I picked up two books earlier this week. The Pool House by Tasmina Perry was being published first but about 150 pages longer than the other book (published 5 days later). So I went with the other book. Mostly because I was really really tired at the time and it felt less overwhelming.

It’s interesting then that when I eventually got to this (two days later) I read the entire 465 pages in a sitting. 

Book review: The Pool House by Tasmina PerryThe Pool House
by Tasmina Perry
Published by Headline Review
on September 7th 2017
Source: Hachette Australia
Genres: Thriller / Suspense
ISBN: 147220851X, 9781472208514
Pages: 480

To Jem Chapman, it's the chance of a lifetime. An invitation to join a group in an exclusive house-share, who could say no? But when she discovers what happened last summer, Jem can't help but feel a chill. 

A young woman was found drowned in the house's pool. The housemates said Alice was troubled. She'd been drinking. She couldn't swim. 

As Jem gets to know her glamorous new housemates she realises each has something to hide. What really happened last summer? And who would go to any lengths to keep a person quiet?

I’ve actually switched the Goodreads summary with the backcover blurb above, as the former wasn’t particularly useful, but this (*points above*) is far more so.

What the blurb doesn’t tell us however, is that Jem is married to the seriously ambitious (men’s fashion magazine editor) Nat. They’ve moved to New York from London for Nat’s career and when we meet her, Jem (a former caterer), is at a loose end. Nat’s life is filled with work and work parties. We learn he’s come from humble beginnings but has been swayed by the offerings of the world he now inhabits.

Nat’s a brilliant networker and nabs them the chance of summer in the Hamptons. Jem isn’t sure and baulks at the cost of the share house, but agrees because she realises it’ll keep Nat happy, she’ll be relieved of her boredom and loneliness and she’ll get to pursue her love of cooking for her housemates – three other couples.

It’s not until they’ve arrived for their first weekend away that Jem learns of the death of Alice one year earlier.

She’s a little freaked but when she’s offered a job with a local (famous) writer who suspects there may have been a cover up, she finds herself working alongside him to investigate Alice’s death. And, as it happens, her life.

We meet Alice briefly in a prologue before moving to Jem’s head, but part-way through Perry switches us back to Alice as her story unfolds. It coincides with the investigation and is a clever way of revealing what we need to know, WHEN we need to know it.

I liked that this book didn’t devolve into something too sinister. Jem’s life wasn’t at risk because of her interest in Alice’s death. There was no final poignant scene where she’s saved from the clutches of a killer. It’s more practical than that. More realistic. The tension and suspense arises from Jem not knowing who to trust…. and learning everyone (it seems) has secrets. Even Nat.

My extensive research (ie. the list inside the front cover of the book) informs me that Tasmina Perry’s written a number of books. I checked out her website (which is a bit out of date) and her previous novels seem to be primarily romantic fiction so I’m wondering if she’s edging her way into romantic suspense (like Sandra Brown, Nora Roberts, Jayne Anne Krentz etc). Indeed, in addition to the engaging and complex characters and intriguing plot, there was also a smidge of romance added into this enjoyable (and addictive) read.

The Pool House by Tasmina Perry will be published in Australia by Hachette and available from 7 September 2017.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher for review purposes. 



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