Saturday, September 12, 2020

Final Cut - SJ Watson

I've enjoyed SJ Watson's previous books - especially Before I Go to Sleep, which was also made into a movie starring Nicole Kidman. Final Cut is his latest novel.

Alex makes documentary films. Her latest assignment is in the village of Blackwood Bay. With her latest undertaking, anyone can submit a film clip of village life, scenes, activities and more. Alex will curate the clips and decide what can be made public. And her boss thinks that she also needs to ask about the disappearance of more than one girl from this community. And....Alex has a connection to Blackwood Bay - one that she's hiding.

I thought the film clip premise was a great idea - clues, suspicions and leads can be brought to light through this vehicle.

I just couldn't connect with Alex though. She's all over the map - and yes, that is part of the plot. But some of her actions are just plain ridiculous. She's been there a day or two and has decided that she can solve the case of the missing girls - one of which is ten years ago.

She meets village residents and feels like she knows them and how they will react, what they will do. Which of course does not serve her well. And here's the thing. Knowing she's a filmmaker, some local residents bring her into their circle. Or rather she invites herself. Her worry for local teens just feels awkward. Much of it just didn't ring true.

There's some obligatory attraction between a three month resident named Gavin and Alex. "His eyes are wide, expectant, and for a moment I think he's going to try to kiss me, and know that if he does, I'll let him." Puleez. This was one example - there are many more. Knowing Alex's background, this 'romantic' thread just didn't fit at all.

Alex is a bit of an enigma - she has a history in Blackwood Bay that she doesn't disclose. Mostly because she can't remember it. As a teen she was found on a beach with traumatic memory disorder. So, she reinvented herself.

There was so much potential in this story. But the endless rounds of questions and enigmatic clues seemed to just repeat themselves. Along with cryptic responses - I just can't tell wouldn't understand and more. I like cryptic, but this response only works for so long. Oh, and don't forget the creepy guy in the creepy house.

And you may be asking - where are the police in all this? Well, they're not part of this book. Their one appearance provides such a break of protocol it's ridiculous.

And yes, I like a good twist. The one that's telegraphed is a good one. But the turn after that was too much of a reach. Yes, I finished the book - I was so very curious as to how things would end. Well, it felt like the final ta-da went on forever, with curveball after curveball. And without providing a spoiler, the final bad person's's accomplice didn't think they were doing anything wrong? C'mon.

I had high hopes going in, but this was most definitely not a book for me. Others quite liked Final Cut - you can find their reviews on Goodreads.


Grandma Cootie said...

Thanks for your honest review. I didn't like S. J. Waton's previous books that much so won't bother with this one. I just finished an audiobook that was very popular but sounded very much like what you describe here. It went on and on and I finished it only to find out who survived and who didn't, not because I cared about any of the characters. And then the supposed heroine/poor thing ended up doing something at the end that made me actually dislike her. Good thing there are so many books out there, right? We don't click with all of them.

Luanne said...

Heya Grandma Cootie. I was so disappointed with this latest. The premise was good, but the execution was not. And I felt very guilty for a) not liking it and b) saying so. I only request/read books I think I will like and I am surprised when I don't. It doesn't happen very often. But you're right - we don't click with all of them.