Her dream escape is about to become a nightmare…Kimberley King has spent the last five years trying to outrun the reason she left the police force. Her life is a mess and she’s desperate for change. So when she is randomly selected for the new series of the hit show LoveWrecked, she can’t pass up the chance to win the £100,000 prize. All Kimberley needs to do is couple up with one of her fellow contestants, win the infamous LoveWrecked challenges, and she will have enough cash for a fresh start. But the island isn’t the paradise she was promised and within hours, one of the contestants is dead. Then the announcement comes: one of the islanders is a murderer and Kimberley must find out who, live on television. For every hour it takes her, one more person will die. The game is rigged, everyone is hiding secrets, and time is running out…
Hi and welcome to my review of The Islanders!
First of all a happy e-publication day to Ms Leonard, and a huge thank-you to Yvo for tagging me on Twitter and telling me that I would love The Islanders: you were absolutely right
It’s no secret I love me a locked room mystery and although I don’t really like (and hardly ever watch) reality TV shows, I do tend to like fiction that features reality TV shows. (Yes I know it’s weird thankyouverymuch, no I can’t explain, just go with it.) All this to say: it seemed like a perfect fit and I was happy to find it actually was!
After a five-year hiatus the immensely popular reality TV show LoveWrecked is back! Twenty people, selected through their social media accounts, will be brought to a remote island off the Greece mainland where they are to couple up with another contestant of the opposite sex and defeat the other couples in survival-based challenges, the winning couple taking home £100,000 each. What a premise!
Contestant no. 1 is Kimberley King. In a previous life she was a police officer, now she’s a bit lost so when she is invited to LoveWrecked she accepts. It’s not like she has anything better to do, and quite frankly, she could use the money. And what’s the worst thing that could happen anyway? Well, glad you asked, and sorry Kim didn’t, murder! With only a few people of the crew and not even half the contestants in place due to a storm, the first evening on the island turns into a bit of a binge fest. When the Islanders wake up the morning after they’re rather bleary-eyed but still manage to see the body floating in the pool. With only eight people on the island and one of them dead, whodunnit?!
At this point, the story takes a bit of a Saw turn: a TV turns itself on and a mysterious figure dressed as a judge informs the Islanders that it will be Kim’s task to find the murderer and to do so live on television AND against the clock because for every hour the murderer remains unidentified, another Islander will die.
In other words, we enter a kind of 24 stage: the clock is ticking mercilessly and the day is divided into hour segments. With the little intel Kim has, you’d better believe that first death won’t be the last.
Meanwhile, email correspondence interspersing the narrative gives us an idea why this is happening, yet for the longest time I could not for the life of me figure out the mystery. I suspected a few people because some of their actions struck me as odd, or they’d said something that sounded vaguely incriminating, while simultaneously suspecting someone who seemed innocent, just because they seemed too innocent to be true.
In the end I did figure it out… kinda. However, Ms Leonard did not show her hand until the last minute and managed to keep me on my toes until then. The Islanders is quite simply the locked room trope done right, it is a crazy ride, highly addictive and if you want to feel glad to be stuck at home instead of on a tropical island, just pick up The Islanders! Highly recommended!
The Islanders is out now in digital formats and will be out in paperback on 3 November.
Huge thanks to Canelo Crime and NetGalley for the eARC. All opinions are my own.