As I’m on the blog tour for the second book in this series, I have to maintain the natural order of things, and read book one first.
A page-turning thriller of deception and obsession!
A mysterious woman stumbles into a deserted shack with no memory but a gun in her hand. There she meets an apparent stranger, Red, and the two find themselves isolated and under attack from unseen assailants.
Barricaded inside for a sweltering night, cabin fever sets in and brings her flashes of insight which might be memory or vision as the swamp sighs and moans around her.
Exploring in the dark she finds hidden keys that seem to reveal her identity and that of her mysterious host, but which are the more dangerous – the lies he’s told her, or the ones she’s told herself?
Sophie Jonas-Hill’s gripping and highly original debut will thrill fans of John Connolly, Holly Seddon and the Women’s Murder Club thrillers.
The opening to Nemesister was as the blurb states, a mysterious woman with no memory stumbles into a shack with a gun in her hand. Immediately you’re hit with the uncertainly, can she trust Red, what happened, how immediate is further danger? You really feel this woman’s unease. Red calls her ‘Margarita’ and I’m going to do the same.
What follows, again is as the blurb states, cabin fever sets in, and this is the device that allows Margarita to regain most of her memory. And this is where the plot lost me, I felt so disconnected, so confused. You could argue the confusion was essential in the sense that this woman was experiencing cabin fever, so memories/visions won’t necessary be coherent and easily understood. But, it reminded me a lot of when I read Fever Dream and The Water Cure – that feeling of reading a book but not really being able to grasp what is happening; you keep trying to understand what’s going on, but you can’t quite get a grip on things. This may appeal to some readers but, for me, it’s something I’ve come to actively dislike, because it makes me feel a bit dim, like I’m not smart enough to understand what’s happening. I know that’s not the author’s intention to make a reader feel that way, and call me silly if you like, but I can’t help the way I feel, I can deal with deception, being misled, unreliable narrators, because at least I can follow events, even if they turn out to be untrue, but, what I’m naming ‘the fever dream’ trope just doesn’t work for me.
Moving on, once this cabin fever section ended, I loved this novel – the success of this novel lies in the strength of the second half. That’s where you see the cleverness of the plot, the deception; you can follow, understand, and therefore appreciate, all that occurs. You can see the craftiness behind the author’s plotting, I was hooked. It isn’t necessarily a believable set of events, but it’s gripping, entertaining, thrilling, and brilliantly deceptive. Once Margarita regained her memory, she was a badass character, a character that you can really get behind. I loved her attitude, someone who meets fire with fire, and this made for an exciting second half to the novel.
While one aspect, the main aspect, was wonderfully concluded, the overall ending was a little vague, with this being the first book in a trilogy, that is to be expected. I’m looking forward to the next instalment, and as long as Margarita doesn’t experience cabin fever for a second time, I’m positive I’ll enjoy it all the way through.
Nemesister is such an atmospheric read, set in the swamps of Louisiana, it’s stifling, it’s tense. The isolated setting, and the limited characters, added to the atmosphere and created a sweltering, intense vibe which I really liked. It’s worth noting that I read this book in one sitting, so as much as I felt disconnected from the first half, once this novel ‘had me’, it ‘had me’ till the end!