SAINT X - by Alexis Schaitkin

Claire is only seven years old when her college-age sister, Alison, disappears on the last night of their family vacation at a resort on the Caribbean island of Saint X. Several days later, Alison’s body is found in a remote spot on a nearby cay, and two local men – employees at the resort - are arrested. But the evidence is slim, the timeline against it, and the men are soon released. The story turns into national tabloid news, a lurid mystery that will go unsolved. For Claire and her parents, there is only the return home to broken lives.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Years later, Claire is living and working in New York City when a brief but fateful encounter brings her together with Clive Richardson, one of the men originally suspected of murdering her sister. It is a moment that sets Claire on an obsessive pursuit of the truth - not only to find out what happened the night of Alison’s death but also to answer the elusive question: Who exactly was her sister? At seven, Claire had been barely old enough to know her: a beautiful, changeable, provocative girl of eighteen at a turbulent moment of identity formation.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    As Claire doggedly shadows Clive, hoping to gain his trust, waiting for the slip that will reveal the truth, an unlikely attachment develops between them, two people whose lives were forever marked by the same tragedy.
Published: February 2020 - Celadon Books.
Genre: Adult / thriller / contemporary fiction.
Pages: 343. 
Triggers/Content Advisory: Violence / a rape scene / often explicit sexual content and themes.
Format: Paperback.
Source: Thank you so much to Pan Macmillan SA for sending me this book in exchange for an honest review. I voluntarily read and reviewed this book. All thoughts are my own. 

This will be a mini review. 

Fundamentally, the book meanders. The plot goes off in tangents, following details and storylines that add nothing to the plot, and the story is bogged down by these irrelevant details; it’s boring, tedious, and doesn’t feel like a thriller. 

The writing is poor, too. Everything is over-described, and I wish the book as a whole had been trimmed and tightened. One of the most important things about  thriller is that it keeps you reading, and Saint X has so much unnecessary fluff. However, the dialogue is solid. I liked that.  

I didn’t like the characters. They come across dull and one-dimensional, and I couldn’t connect to them or their journeys. For all the author’s extravagant details and backstories, the characters still aren’t interesting or multidimensional, and that’s unfortunate. Claire, especially....what's her personality? She comes across so flat and uninspired. And Clive, too. Alison is the only character with some real personality, but even she has inconsistent moments and I could not connect emotionally to her.  

Saint X has grand potential and compelling dialogue, but the plot sabotages the whole novel.

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