Jody Gehrman’s fresh-off-the-press release of The Girls Weekend is a classic “Whodunit” thriller-mystery that keeps you questioning who is responsible for the absence and death of hostess Sadie MacTavish. Every character in the book has more than sufficient reason to want her dead, and when she goes missing with clear signals of foul play, you’ll be convinced everyone in her immediate circle is at fault.
It is early June when five college frenemies in their late-30s reunite at the estate of world renowned children’s author Sadie MacTavish for a girls weekend. The goal is to celebrate the unexpected pregnancy of their friend Amy, who has spent her life living with her cousin Sadie, since she struggles with mental health issues and has never been able to hold down a job. Their friends Kimiko, Em and June all come harboring their own grudges, fears and insecurities, but they try to not let it get in the way of the weekend. Sadie’s overly manipulative and controlling attitude pushes them all to the edge in different ways, but they try to press forward without losing their cool.
What was supposed to be a happy occasion quickly spirals out of control when the ladies wake up one morning and realize nobody can fully remember what happened the night before, after drinking copious amounts of alcohol. Sadie is missing, and blood stains the wall and stair landing, while her bedroom is in total disarray.
The already tense weekend devolves into chaos, as the four remaining friend try to remember what happened and align their fuzzy memories before calling the police. They are also tasked with breaking the news to Sadie’s husband, Ethan, and their 17-year-old daughter, Dakotah, along with Leo, the family’s landscaper and grounds caretaker.
Although not an overly complicated read, the characters are all developed enough with their individual issues and reasons for wanting Sadie dead. Jealousy over her husband Ethan and glamorous life, complicated pasts, a business loan gone sour, and deteriorating relationships are placed front and center of The Girls Weekend, and you’ll suspect everyone on the property. Old relationships are put to the test as formerly close friends and past lovers suspect one another of the crime. The question boils down to who had the biggest motive to want Sadie dead, and what was the final straw that led to her demise.
I give 4 stars out of 5 to this mystery. Some plot points are easy enough to predict, but the ending is not easily guessed.
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