There may only be one killer, but no one is innocent in this new young adult thriller from Natasha Preston, author of The Cellar, a New York Times Bestseller, and Awake.
They think they’re invincible.
They think they can do and say whatever they want.
They think there are no consequences.
They’ve left me no choice.
It’s time for them to pay for their sins.
A weekend partying at a remote cabin is just what Mackenzie needs. She can’t wait to let loose with her friends. But a crazy night of fun leaves two of them dead…murdered.
With no signs of a forced entry or struggle, suspicion turns to the five survivors. Someone isn’t telling the truth. And Mackenzie’s first mistake? Assuming the killing is over…
Welcome to a special spotlight post for Natasha Preston‘s latest YA thriller, The Cabin! Today’s stop is but one of the week-long tour that the lovely people at Raincoast Books have organized for The Cabin- be sure to check out some of the other bloggers! Today, I will be talking about Preston’s latest novel, as well as sharing an exclusive excerpt from The Cabin.
Did you ever hide away in a cozy corner, relishing your reading of R.L. Stine’s Fear Street, Diane Hoh’s Nightmare Hall or anything by Christopher Pike? Well, if you did (or do!), then Natasha Preston’s The Cabin might just be the murder-filled teen read for you.
At once blood-soaked, teen-love-fueled and all kinds of twisted, The Cabin makes for retro kind of slasher read- along the lines of an 80s Lois Duncan or Caroline B. Cooney thriller. While not the strongest in terms of structure or character development- The Cabin unfortunately suffers a bit from repetitive conversations, some heavy explication, and lightly-defined characters- the book does meet its marks in being an easy to consume, hard to stop, pulpy and fun kind of creepy read. I have a soft spot for mysteries, whodunits and suspense titles, and there was definitely some strangely nostalgic in my reading of The Cabin; I was zooming my way through the book once I picked it up!
At the root of The Cabin: the back story of Mackenzie’s strangely cursed circle of friends, their previous traumas and losses, and the concept of the weekend murder at the cabin is intriguing- there are kernels of a solid suspense story. Preston fares well in cultivating the gore and paranoia, in keeping the fast clip of the story, and in the actual whodunit reveal. There is a one-two-punch of a surprise (or surprises) toward the conclusion that was well-done, if not, shocking- I actually had a moment of flipping the very last page, exclaiming ‘no!’, expecting and hoping to read just a bit more. (I wonder if Preston will ever return to Mackenzie and Blake’s story in a future follow-up?). As Wes Craven-ish as The Cabin is, however, I do think Preston’s work here could have benefited from some modifications to make the entirety of the story stronger. Cutting down character interactions (mostly in forms of dialogue) that became redundant as the story went on; creating a less than obviously terrible investigator (who makes Stephen Fry’s bumbling Gosford Park detective look masterly); and adding some more genuine delineations of characters- or perhaps even multiple character narratives- to add some overall traction to the story.
Readers who have enjoyed Natasha Preston’s previous YA offerings might especially flock to The Cabin to read what the author has done in her latest outing! Relatively light on content but super enjoyable in terms of bloodiness, teen drama (and YA romance), readers and fans of who have enjoyed any of the authors mentioned above, or who are keen on pure candy in a YA mystery, might really enjoy Preston’s latest release.
Read on for an excerpt!
Straightening his back, Blake walked around the double bed and gripped my arms. “Well, that sounds like a plan. I definitely don’t want you feeling horrendous all day so…” He slid a hand down the bare skin of my arm until he reached my hand. With a little tug, he towed me out of the room and downstairs.
We stopped at the bottom of the wooden stairs to assess the damage. Bottles, shot glasses, and snack wrappers littered the coffee table and floor around it. There were more empty bottles of alcohol than I remembered. No wonder we felt rough.
Blake stood behind me, his chest pressed right against my back and a hand on my hip. I liked the contact a lot.
“This explains the drilling in my head,” he murmured, leaning down to nip my neck. Spinning around, I slapped his arm playfully, laughing. Bad move. My head throbbed with the quick movement, but Blake’s boyish grin made my heart swell.
Another bad move. Don’t get too involved with him. When we went home, Blake would be back off to his dad’s, and who knew when I’d see him again. If ever.
A door upstairs opened and closed. I stepped around Blake to watch Megan hobble down. She looked as good as I felt. “Kenzie?” she whispered. “I think I’m dying.”
Laughing quietly, I replied, “You too, huh?”
“Bloody hell. How much did we drink?” she muttered, leaning heavily against the bannister as she made the final steps downstairs. She hadn’t drunk much, but it was still more than she usually did.
“We’re getting old,” I joked. “We can’t handle it anymore.”
Kyle was sprawled out on the floor with his mouth wide open, breathing deeply, his jet–black hair stuck out in all directions like a bird’s nest. Aaron was curled up beside him, sleeping in the fetal position. They clearly couldn’t handle the amount of alcohol either. They were both in the same place Blake and I had left them last night.
Blake watched us with a curiosity I didn’t quite understand. I had a feeling he didn’t have many close friends, which was a shame, because beyond that I–don’t–care attitude, he was a great guy. I thought—-from what I’d seen, anyway.
“Where’re Josh and Courtney?” Megan asked.
I shrugged. “I don’t hear anyone else up, so maybe they’re asleep still. God, Megan, I need aspirin.”
Kyle’s eyes flicked open and widened as he saw how close Aaron was to him. I felt so rough I couldn’t even laugh when he shoved him away, making Aaron wake with a gasp.
Aaron looked up, dazed. “What?” He rubbed his eyes and winced. “Christ!”
“I’m making tea. Everyone in?” I asked, receiving grunts in replace of a yes and a look of disgust from Blake. I smiled, remembering what he’d wanted before. “Coffee for you, Blake.”
I walked into the kitchen; my head was swimming, and everything looked a little fuzzy. A sea of red flashed in front of my eyes. I blinked hard.
You’re losing it.
Opening my eyes again, I stared at the floor. It took me a few moments to register what I was seeing. Bright, thick blood stretched from the middle of the kitchen to what looked like behind the island.
I gasped. There was so much blood. My heart raced and the ends of my fingertips tingled. The metallic smell filled my lungs and made me gag. My body turned cold and started to shake. What…?
“Courtney?” I whispered, not even hearing my own voice over the ringing in my ears.
Oh God, don’t pass out, Mackenzie.
Someone came up behind me. “What the…” Kyle whispered, stepping around me. “Shit. Stay back, Kenz.”
Blake was right behind Kyle. “What’s going on?” he asked.
Against Kyle’s orders, I stepped around the kitchen island and my stomach lurched. “No,” I cried, pressing my hand over my mouth as bile rose in my throat. Courtney and Josh lay on the floor in a pool of crimson blood.
I received a copy of this title courtesy of Raincoast Books in exchange for an honest review and for the purposes of this blog tour. All opinions and comments are my own.