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Monday 24 July 2023

The Beach Party by Nikki Smith

Smith is not an author I'm familiar with, but the signs I was going to enjoy her work were good when I found myself engrossed after only a few pages. But…oh yes, there's a but…I am not a fan of present-tense narrative. I absolutely hate it. I've never found an instance where it works, and it certainly doesn't here. It's almost strangulating. As the story is told over two time frames, about thirty years apart, I did hope the past story, at least, would be in the past tense. But no, more stultifying present-tense narrative. Alas. One star lost, I'm afraid.

Nevertheless…it's a gripping story about revenge. Revenge is a dish best served cold, they say. In this instance, I'd say it's frozen pretty solid…it's had over thirty years to ice over. Six university friends go on a Spanish holiday, and the partying takes a dramatic turn. Thirty years later, the events of one tragic night come back to haunt them.

Despite the fact that it's hard to like any of the six…they range from an arrogant bully to a compliant minion…it's a gripping story, well written for the most part (spelling/grammatical errors), and the characters, despite their unlikeability, contribute to a tense and gripping story.

Despite the oh-so-tiresome present-tense narrative, I'll definitely read more of this author.

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