Published by Underlined (30th November 2021)
My rating: ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
In the golden age of technology, there’s always they latest trend, the newest app, this story takes place heavily centered around one of them – TikTok. Six of the biggest influencers on the app live together in Malibu, their mansion – The Lit Lair, is the perfect backdrop for all of their videos, and also, for murder. When one of the six is found dead in the pool, and the house’s account starts posting cryptic clues, everything points to one of their own being responsible. As the investigators start digging deeper into the lives of the five people who look like they’ve got it made, they start to notice that each person had a reason to want Sydney gone. What follows is a harrowing race against the clock to find out who killed Sydney Reynolds, before they get away with it.
I’ll admit, I am known to sink many hours into scrolling TikTok. Laughing at the funny, crying at the sad, and really appreciating the time and effort that some people put into their brand just to be seen, to be able to make it in this tech heavy world where everyone wants to be known for something. So when I saw a thriller/murder mystery set against this backdrop, I couldn’t help but buy. It’s so different to other thrillers and murder stories that I’ve read before. This is one that will appeal to the younger generation, those that live their lives on social media. And I’ll admit, initially I had a bit of a hard time getting into the story because the characters, when we first meet them, are so damn vapid, I just didn’t know if I’d be able to do it. If you’re feeling this way, stick with it a bit longer, it does get better, I promise.
The mystery was super intriguing. I had my speculations, especially at one point in the story, and I was close, but no cigar. So this was fantastic. I didn’t know who the killer was until Roache wanted me to know, so I think that’s brilliant. It’s always tedious when you’ve worked everything out way before the MC/s and you’re just waiting for them to catch up. That was not the case with this one. And let me tell you, that reveal, wow, it was one of those moments where I was thinking “No way!”. So in terms of setting up the mystery and leading us around leaving us questioning who we could trust, Roache absolutely killed it with this one (pun possibly intended).
The characters were well written and I feel like they were true to the stereotype of the typical big influencers we see on social media. They all want to be in the spot light, they all want to be the one chosen for sponsorship deals. These are teenagers making so much money, and living the dream – essentially. But as the story progresses, we see that everything is not perfect for these people. And I love that Roache touched on this because the problem with social media is, people can portray whatever life they want to. Of course people are only going to post what they feel suits their ‘brand’ or the image they’re trying to project. Majority of people will only ever post about the good, about the highs, about the deals they’ve closed. They won’t post about how long it took, how long it took to look good for that one photo, that one video, and I feel like Roache really illustrates this point in this story, and it’s such an important message that doesn’t get talked about enough. I most enjoyed Kat and Beau’s characters, they were the most down to earth, though I enjoyed something about all of the characters in the end and found that I was backing them all. Roache has a brilliant way of writing characters you want to throttle, yet you still care whether they’re going to make it out alive.
And I couldn’t help but think about certain people that I come across on TikTok quite a bit, this story was so relateable and real in that way. I also love that Roache touched on the fact that yes, these kids are making major bank, but it can all be ripped away in a matter of hours. Being an influence, all eyes are on you, all the time, if you put one foot wrong, you can lose everything.
All in all, this was a super enjoyable story and I loved the mystery. It kept me guessing and needing to know what was going to happen next. I feel that Roache really touched on some important things here, and I love that she did something a little different to what I’ve read before. I do feel that if you’re not TikTok savvy, this story may not work too well for you, but give it a go anyway. There’s not too much more I want to say as I feel like I’d be giving away too much. If you love a good modern mystery give this one a go. It was solid.
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