Final Cut by S.J. Watson

Posted On 6 August 2020

Filed under Book Reviews
Tags: ,

Comments Dropped 14 responses

Final cutMy five word TL:DR Review: Not quite what I expected

Final Cut is one of my little forays into psychological thrillers.  I read Before I Go to Sleep by this author and loved it so had no hesitation when it came to requesting a copy of this book.  A young woman returns to the sleepy seaside village that she ran away from years ago, she has no memory of why she left but she soon starts to uncover the dark underbelly of the village and puts herself into a dangerous spot by asking too many questions.

On the face of it this story has the makings of so many things I love.  The setting is really well done and plays so well into the plot.  Sleepy seaside village, now suffering from economic decline, hit further by the disappearance of a couple of young girls and the suicide of another.  There’s a general feel of despair about the place with the villagers themselves having an almost desperately sad quality.  When Alex arrives at the village to shoot a documentary that sadness turns into distrust.  This little documentary could shine a spotlight on the village and maybe promote recovery or it could simply be a wolf in disguise, raking up past troubles and dark histories that the inhabitants would sooner forget.  Then we have Alex, she doesn’t want to go back to Blackwood Bay and yet she’s not altogether certain why, her earlier memories being so sketchy.  There’s this overall creepy feel that something downright nasty is going to be uncovered and I confess that the story gets off to a great start.  And yet, this didn’t quite wow me as much as I’d hoped or expected – and that’s the rub with expectations I suppose.  To be clear, I read this very quickly and had no trouble with it but at the same time I didn’t quite fall in love with it either.

What I enjoyed about this was the small village town feel that the author does a wonderful job of portraying.  The place is very easy to imagine and I had a clear vision of what it looked like.  On the one hand there was the quaint cobbled streets, tiny cottages and shops, the local pub and the windswept moors, the history of smuggling and suggestion of underground tunnels, but this is then countered by the foreboding house that sits atop the cliffs, the tacky arcades and the young people huddled together, staring at their phones with an overwhelming sense of boredom.  There’s also a lot of dark and seedy material here which the author handles well.  Alex has experienced some scary situations and  lived life a little on the edge and this element becomes clearer as things progress.  There’s also a split timeline with ‘then’ and ‘now’ being explored which is a good way of dropping extra clues (or red herrings) along the way.

Now, I’ve struggled to really understand why this one didn’t quite blow me away.  I think there is an element of not being surprised by either the mystery or the eventual twist in the tale – both of those felt a little obvious to me but I’m not sure if that would normally have such an impact on my overall feelings.  I think I felt a slight irritation with Alex and the whole lack of memory issue, I don’t know why, it feels like a rather overused trope of the genre and that, coupled with a feeling of going round in circles and yet finding out nothing new for a good chunk of the story really started to change the feel somehow.  It seems like Alex is continually chasing her tale, sneaking around taking videos of people, telling all sorts of fabricated stories to try and get people to talk to her and yet by the end of it all, apart from feeling a little exhausted, she’s usually learnt very little in the process and that starts to feel a little frustrating, particularly, when the actual mystery is pretty much staring you in the face. Plus, I do have at least one issue that really doesn’t add up for me but I won’t mention it here as it would be a definite spoiler.

I don’t mean to be overly critical though.  As I already mentioned I had no problem reading this one.  The writing is enjoyable and I wanted to discover what had taken place.  In that respect, I would just mention that this book could be potentially triggering for some readers.  I wouldn’t say that it overly focuses on events that take place, more alludes to them, there’s certainly no graphic details, but certain parts of this story might be disturbing for some.

I would rate this 3.5 of 5 stars.

I received a copy through Netgalley, courtesy of the publisher, for which my thanks.  The above is my own opinion.



Can’t Wait Wednesday : Final Cut by S.J. Watson

Can't Wait Wednesday

“Waiting On Wednesday” is a weekly meme that was originally created by Breaking the Spine.  Unfortunately Breaking the Spine are no longer hosting so I’m now linking my posts up to Wishful Endings Can’t Wait Wednesday. Don’t forget to stop over, link up and check out what books everyone else is waiting for.  If you want to take part, basically, every Wednesday, we highlight a book that we’re really looking forward to.  This week my book is :  Final Cut by S.J. Watson.  This is the author who wrote Before I Go To Sleep – so I cannot wait!

Final cutIn this mind-blowing psychological thriller SJ Watson, the internationally bestselling author of Before I Go to Sleep, explores themes of memory and identity as a young documentary filmmaker travels to a quiet fishing village to shoot a new film, only to encounter a dark mystery surrounding the disappearance of a local girl.

For generations Blackwood Bay, a quaint village in northern England, has been famous only for the smuggling that occurred along its coastline centuries ago, but then two local girls disappear bringing the town a fresh and dark notoriety. When Alex, an ambitious documentary filmmaker, arrives in Blackwood Bay, she intends to have the residents record their own stories as her next project. But instead of a quaint community, Alex finds a village blighted by economic downturn and haunted by a tragedy that overshadows every corner.

Alex pushes on with her work, but secrets old and new rise to the surface, raising tensions and suspicions in a town already on edge. Alex’s work takes her to dark places and uncomfortable truths which threaten to lead to a deadly unravelling.

Expected publication : August 2020