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Final Cut

af S. J. Watson

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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 you...you 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. ( )
  Twink | Sep 12, 2020 |
I am sad to report that I struggled with this book. Which kind of surprised me as again I will point out that I loved this author's first book. The second one was kind of a miss for me as well. Yet, this was an improvement from the second one; despite my feelings towards this book.

In the beginning, I was into this book. I was following along nicely. One of the things that made it hard for me with this book was the very slow pacing. It felt like not much was happening. When something did transpire, it was not too "big". Just some little nibbles to keep the reader strung along. Which, I would not have had a problem with if in turn I was connected to the characters. This was my other issue with this book. No real connection towards the characters. So you could say this book didn't do it for me this time. ( )
  Cherylk | Aug 27, 2020 |
Alex receives a postcard to visit the small community of Blackwood Bay. She is a documentary filmmaker and there may be a story there since two girls disappeared from there and one committed suicide ten years earlier. But two things happen when she arrives. One, she recalls being there before but doesn’t know why or when. Two, the townspeople don’t want her there nor wants her to pry.

The plot was interesting and the story unfolded in a slow way to keep the reader wondering what is going on in the town. But is also dragged a bit. A bit predictable and the climatic twist was not surprising. ( )
  grumpydan | Jun 6, 2020 |
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