Publisher: Balzer & Bray.
Hardcover, 294 pages.
Release date: September 18th 2012
Rating: 4½ out of 5.
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Three-day weekend. House party.
White Rock House on Henry Island.
You do NOT want to miss it.
It was supposed to be the weekend of their lives—an exclusive house party on Henry Island. Best friends Meg and Minnie each have their reasons for being there (which involve T.J., the school’s most eligible bachelor) and look forward to three glorious days of boys, booze and fun-filled luxury.
But what they expect is definitely not what they get, and what starts out as fun turns dark and twisted after the discovery of a DVD with a sinister message: Vengeance is mine.
Suddenly people are dying, and with a storm raging, the teens are cut off from the outside world. No electricity, no phones, no internet, and a ferry that isn’t scheduled to return for two days. As the deaths become more violent and the teens turn on each other, can Meg find the killer before more people die? Or is the killer closer to her than she could ever imagine?
Reminiscent of teen slasher flicks I Know What You Did Last Summer and Scream, Ten by Gretchen McNeil is an atmospheric spine-chiller guaranteed to keep you reading late into the night and leave you sleeping with the lights on.
What could be better than spending the weekend at a house party on a secluded island? No school, no rules, and best of all, lots of booze. But parties are not really Meg’s thing. Especially not this one, since her all time crush T.J. will be there. Problem is her best friend Minnie has a thing for T.J. too. Still, things could be worse, and they soon are when accidents begin to happen, the power cuts out and things take a turn for the strange. Soon, love triangles are the last thing on Meg’s mind, because people are dying all around her. They started out as ten, now they are nine…eight…seven…and there is no way off the storm-ravaged island.
Billed as a modern day retelling of Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None, Ten is my kind of book! I just loved reading this one as a wild Irish storm raged outside my window. Clever, well-plotted and quick-paced, Ten is a tale of murderous revenge that kept me guessing right till the end. Usually I pride myself in being able to figure out murder mysteries of this kind, but let me tell you, Ten left me stumped. I suspected everyone in Meg’s group at one point or another apart from the actual killer. Duh! Of course I should have seen it coming, and in my defence, I did figure things out right at the end, but only because I knew there had to be a big twist in there somewhere. Like all the best authors do, McNeil planted all the right clues for me to find, but I pretty much overlooked them and started suspecting characters left, right and center. Let’s just say that if I was an actual character in this book, I would have ended up dead in no time at all.
McNeil’s voice is pitch-perfect and her characters well-crafted, but where this author really excels is in creating atmospheric tension. In Ten the storm ravaged island becomes a character in itself as Meg races against time to uncover the killer. I don’t scare easily, but I made the mistake of reading this when I was home alone, and let me tell you, I checked the locks and then I checked them twice, and every creaking floorboard I heard that night had the potential to be something altogether sinister in my freaked out mind. If you scare easily, or even if you don’t, then it might be better to read this one when you are not home alone!
The perfect Halloween read, Ten is the first book I’ve read by Gretchen McNeil – I haven’t yet had a chance to check out her debut Possess – but it certainly won’t be the last. I loved this one! Recommended.