Tuesday, August 2, 2022

Review: The Long Weekend by Gilly Macmillan

by Gilly Macmillan
Release Date: March 29, 2022
2022 William Morrow & Company
Kindle Edition; 336 Pages
ISBN: 978-0063074323
ASIN: B0983LK135
Audiobook: B0997YWCZY
Genre: Fiction / Mystery
Source: Review copy from publisher

2.25 / 5 Stars

Dark Fell Barn is a “perfectly isolated” retreat, or so says its website when Jayne books a reservation for her friends. A quiet place, far removed from the rest of the world, is exactly what they need.

The women arrive for a girls’ night ahead of their husbands.Upon arrival at Dark Fell Barn, the women find a devastating note claiming one of their husbands will be murdered. There are no phones, no cell service to check on their men. Friendships fracture as the situation spins wildly out of control. Betrayal can come in many forms.
My Thoughts
The Long Weekend is one of those books that I picked up because it has a lot of elements that I love in a mystery; secrets, isolated retreat, devastating note, suspicions, murder, fractured friendships, and wilderness.  I really enjoyed the set-up to this story, loved the setting as it was as eerie and isolating as I could have asked for, and the concept of secrets and murder playing havoc on emotions was fun, in the beginning.  Unfortunately, this quickly derailed into the unbelievable and suddenly, we were no longer in the isolated setting with one of the narrators sounding so silly, I almost DNF'd the book.  

First of all, I couldn't empathize with any of the main characters, except maybe Jayne, but that was on such a superficial level that I was sort of hoping they would all buy it in the end (a slasher novel finish would have been so satisfactory).  All Emily could do was whine about not being able to reach her husband, Ruth drank and invented these outlandish scenarios involving her husband, and Jayne just seemed so smug in her relationship, almost condescending. I was looking forward to some interesting times at the retreat, but didn't really get too much character development.  I am also not sure why the property owners' perspective was important to the story? All it did was distract from the relationships the author was trying to build between the women and the story line being developed in that plot line. 

The story itself is written in multiple POV, and while I didn't mind reading the women's story lines, I absolutely detested the POV from the supposed villain.  No, you don't know who it is, although there are plenty of clues to give you a basic idea, but the childish voice and the pathetic tone almost made me shut the book.  I like reading from the villain's POV, but not this stuff.  I don't even have words to describe how far my eyes rolled back into my head while reading his justifications.  

Unfortunately, the story line took a deep nosedive once they left the retreat; so much for any murder/slasher scenarios happening on that mountain.  To be honest, I didn't really care that the concept was not that original as I enjoy reading about people being put in isolated scenarios, watching their secrets unravel, and seeing how they react.  With a skilled writer, it is often fun.  Unfortunately, the dramatic episodes just made me cringe and so much was based on coincidence that it became a bit unbelievable.  

The Long Weekend is one of those reads that I managed to scrape through to the end, but barely.  I did enjoy the beginning of the novel, and thought the isolated setting was eerie, setting up for something explosive and interesting.  Unfortunately, it missed the mark completely, and the second half of the book didn't even occur at the retreat.  The villain's POV was childish and unbelievable, and I struggled at this point to continue.  This is one of those books that you need to read for yourself, and if you can get past the tropes and the overuse of red herrings, you may have a different viewpoint than me.  Sadly, this one just did not work for me.