“Sometimes people behave differently in different situations. Especially around money.”
Published: June 30, 2020
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Pages: 350 (Hardcover)
Series: N/A – Standalone
How quickly the line between guest and prisoner crumbles, like a sand castle swept away by the sea. But the tide always turns.
Belle likes to think herself immune to the dizzying effects of fabulous wealth. But when her best friend, Summer, invites her on a glamorous getaway to the Mediterranean aboard her billionaire boyfriend’s yacht, the only sensible answer is yes. Belle hopes the trip will be a much-needed break from her stalled acting career and uniquely humiliating waitressing job, but once she’s aboard the luxurious Lion’s Den, it soon becomes clear this jet-setting holiday is not as advertised.
Belle’s dream vacation quickly devolves into a nightmare as she and the handful of other girls Summer invited are treated more like prisoners than guests by their controlling host-and in one terrifying moment, Belle comes to see Summer for who she truly is: a vicious gold digger who will stop at nothing to get what she wants.
Belle realizes she’s going to have to keep her wits about her — and her own big secret closely hidden — if she wants to make it off the yacht alive.
First and foremost I owe a huge thanks to Grand Central Publishing for sending me a finished, hardcover copy of this thrilling Summer release! I devoured this in two short days and it was easily the thriller of the Summer!
The novel starts with Belle, a small time actress and full time bartender. Her childhood friend, Summer, has landed a very rich (and old) beau who invites Belle and several other of Summer’s girlfriends on a lavish trip on his oversize yacht (not a euphemism, I swear) for a trip around the Mediterranean coast for her birthday. Belle and Summer aren’t as close as they had been when they were children, but she couldn’t pass up the chance to float around foreign and plush beaches. What Belle assumes will be a small, albeit lavish, vacation turns into a living nightmare right off the bat and this once in a lifetime trip just might cost her her life.
Ya’ll I was so surprised by how much I loved this! This was such a deliciously wicked and chilling mystery that unraveled slowly but powerfully. It’s not just the fact that it’s set on a yacht that makes this the perfect Summer getaway read, but there’s the wealth, the L.A. struggling actress heroine, the gossiping and catty women, the creepy body guards, and the intrigue. It’s definitely a read that keeps you on your toes and will keep you turning pages long after dark.
This novel has a dual timeline; one is the present where Belle is aboard The Lion’s Den and the second is the past, starting with when Summer and Belle met and leading up until like a week before they board the yacht. At first I was struggling a little because I was more interested in the present timeline, but it quickly picked up and I was equally engrossed in both timelines. It was so interesting to me to see Belle’s friendships evolve, not only with Summer but with some of the other women, as well. Speaking from someone who has had similar one-sided friendships, there was a lot I found that I could relate to. Not to the same extent (murder and millions of dollars lol) but it was similar experiences for me.
The Lion’s Den kept me guessing until the absolute end and I am SO happy with how it turned out! I think that’s kind of rare for me in a thriller, and while I would have loved to have a little epilogue where we got a wrap up of all the characters, I’m still happy with how it ended. Also, I feel like I should mention that this was stressful as hell. Like literally from the second Belle gets out of her car at the airport it’s one thing after another and I never know what’s going on. Everyone is two-faced. Everyone is shady. So many sketchy things happen immediately. I think my eyes were permanently the size of saucers because there was some crazy shit happening and I couldn’t believe the gall some of these people had. This was the perfect binge read, for sure. I had to know what happened next.
This is a debut novel for St. John but she writes with so much personality and this novel flowed so well. It was fast paced but didn’t feel overwhelmingly so, and I appreciated that it didn’t drag on and on like some thrillers tend to do. All the characters were well-written, as well. They all had their own personalities and I loved the way all of their secrets and darker sides slowly made their way to the surface. I really can’t wait to see what this author comes up with next because this was a near perfect read.
If you’re looking for a really immersive and thrilling read for a Summer night or day by the pool, look no further than this stunning debut!