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Summary

One hen weekend, seven secrets… but only one worth killing for.

Jen's hen party is going to be out of control…

She's rented a luxury getaway on its own private island. The helicopter won't be back for seventy-two hours. They are alone. They think.

As well as Jen, there's the pop diva and the estranged ex-bandmate, the tennis pro and the fashion guru, the embittered ex-sister-in-law and the mouthy future sister-in-law.

It's a combustible cocktail, one that takes little time to ignite, and in the midst of the drunken chaos, one of them disappears. Then a message tells them that unless someone confesses her terrible secret to the others, their missing friend will be killed.

Problem is, everybody has a secret. And nobody wants to tell.

©2022 Chris Brookmyre (P)2022 W. F. Howes Ltd

What listeners say about The Cliff House

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Totally unbelievable, but well told + so much fun!

I have had a run of picking real turkeys recently and so I was so delighted when at the very beginning I felt I could sit back and relax knowing I was in the very reassuring hands of a professional, polished master story teller who I knew would take it from here.
It is my first Chris Brookmyre and when I was doing a bit of research on Goodreads, I realised this is not his usual genre and I am always a bit nervous of men writing predominantly female charactered books. Thankfully I need not have worried - I even had to google Chris Brookmyre before writing this to check is was not Christine Brookmyre as all the women read true and there was no clunky awkwardness.
So knowing their was a real seasoned talent at the helm I buckled up for one hell of a hen's weekend which was packed with secrets, intrigue, betrayals, lies, cocktails and of course a luxurious, exclusive private island resort.
For some reason this is my third consecutive Audiobook set on a private island (Two Scottish, one off the Devon coast) so I am really getting into walking the coastal pathways and having trouble leaving for various reasons. The Cliff House is just so much superior to "The Retreat" by Sarah Pearse (which I had to return) but weirdly similar in that the latter is set on "Reaper's Island" and there is also mention of a Reaper on this island too.

I thought narration was good - bar the mispronunciation of the Spanish name Joaquim ( Wackeen not Joe-A-Kim) as it came up a lot was distracting. Even if you have never heard of Joaquin Phoenix it is so easy these days to Google pronunciation of any word and hear it said correctly that it is annoying that the producer and narrator just did not bother. However the Scottish name places and various Scottish and English accents seemed perfect to my inexpert ear plus RIB boat pronounced correctly "RIB" the word and not spelled out as in the last other two books about islands - so just a minor gripe really.

This well crafted thriller, though a familiar and well trod homage to Agatha Christie's "Ten Little" island based murder mystery, had plenty of surprises and while one had to suspend disbelief, it really was a great adventure with humour and pathos a plenty.
The backstories were well written and there was always something going on or being revealed so never a dull moment.

I put this down and picked it up again, was gripped, distracted and fell right back into the action and was instantly engaged from the getgo, which I think is the sign of a really well written book. After a string of unthrilling thrillers without any real hook to keep you interested and entertained, this was a book which did all the heavy lifting and allowed the listener/reader to just sit back, relax and enjoy the ride.

Nothing upsetting or gory, no animal cruelty, torture or unsettling dark themes, no sloppy plot holes, just a really enjoyable well plotted thriller which rattled along merrily from twist to turn to double twist. I did guess a quite a few bits of the plots but there was so much going on I was never bored and consider it a credit well spent.

Does exactly what it says on the can, no nasty surprises and in these days when it seems a thrilling thriller is hard to find, this is one, though following a familiar recipe is confidently and skillfully written and makes for a very engaging and entertaining adventure.

5 people found this helpful

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Cliched and totally unbelievable

I’m a big Chris Brookmyre fan right back to his early novels and this is the worst I’ve read. It had none of his normal sharpness and humour and felt like he was just churning something out to fit with the current trend of locked room thrillers. The narration was brilliant though which made it an easier listen.

2 people found this helpful

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Hard to keep focus

I’m finding it difficult to concentrate sufficiently even to keep track of the story. I take this to be a very bad sign. There’s too much that’s utterly inconsequential, too many absurdly unlikely confessions. The characters are not engaging. The plot is not interesting. As usual, the whole thing is a painfully contrived puzzle. Boring. Drivelling on and on. Bring back Agatha Christie.

2 people found this helpful

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Great story with many twists and turns.

Another winner for Chris.
The narrator does a fantastic job of all the characters. The writing keeps you in suspense to where the story is going and the kind of who done it style when they are all trapped on a remote Scottish island. As the back stories build up the reader is given some clues and some red herrings to who or what this is all about. Naturally is comes to a satisfactory conclusion.

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Beautifully read

Enjoyed the story which was wonderfully read. Being a Chris Brookmyre fan & having read several of his books, I had guessed some of the twists but still enjoyed it.

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let down by narration.

I gave up after the taxi driver on chapter 3 or 4. I have never in my life heard ANYONE talk like this. I love Christopher Brookmyre's work so paperback it is then. Ambrose Parry aside(perfectly performed) too few of his books get the narration they merit.

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Very Enjoyable

I've been a fan of Chris Brookmyre for many years, and don't think this is up there with my very favourites of the books he's written, however, it was still hugely enjoyable and I liked it very much.

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another great story by Chris

a great story with characters you can relate to with twists and turns everywhere, just as I would expect

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Twists and turns all the way.

Another winner from Chris Brookmyre. Guaranteed to deliver an intelligent conundrum with humour and verve.

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Narration ruined it for me

Far too many stories about deaths on secluded islands now.
This was ok. The narration was really flat but I didn’t let that beat me.

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  • E.
  • 18-08-22

Lazy and unimaginative - waste of a credit

What a waste of a credit. This is my first Brookmyre novel and I was expecting a least a fun and decent read. But honestly this book is a waste of time. The setup is so cliched, the plotting lazy, and the characters ridiculous. Would YOU attend a 3-day hen party of someone you despised (and suspected of murder!) on an isolated island??? It feels like Brookmyre was just trying to reach a word limit or fulfil a publishing deal.

The whole murder mystery thing of a bunch of people getting stuck on am island with a killer on the loose is getting so overdone (think Hunting Party by Lucy Foley, another disappointing read). Skip this one and listen to Moriarty: The Devi's Game by Charles Kindinger. IMO a really excellent audio murder mystery that's worth every penny.