“We speed across the plateau. Such emptiness below. I forgot how huge this area is. Walkers hike here in summer and trails zigzag up. It must be beautiful—a mass of Alpine flowers-but all there is to see today is straggly brown grass and rocky scree. No sign of life, not even a bird. The land looks barren. Dead.”a bird. The land looks barren. Dead.”
Shiver, the debut novel by Allie Reynolds is a thriller told from the POV of Milla who, along with four former friends Dale, Heather, Curtis, and Brent,is invited to a reunion at the Le Rocher. The Le Rocher was a training site for them but things reached their end point when Saskia, the younger sister of Curtis, disappeared. The reunion is obviously intense and animosity is still there. To make matters even worse, their phones and laptops go missing and there’s no way to communicate outside of the training camp. What follows is the group turning on one another as old resentments and secrets that haven’t been told in almost 10 years come bubbling up. We therefore follow Milla as she tries to understand why they’ve been brought here in the first place and whether it has something to do with Saskia. Will they be able to leave? Who called them here in the first place? Is Saskia dead or alive? Well you’ll have to read the book to find out won’t you 🙇🏽♂️.
Shiver was a suspenseful and twisty novel that I really enjoyed. It had everything you want in a suspense novel: five old friends stuck in a desolated location, grudges that are still simmering, stuck in one place, and someone who is scaring the shit out of them? I was hooked. I definitely really loved the eerie and isolated atmosphere of the location. You couldn’t help but feel the chill because the characters were up there by themselves with no civilization other than these five people. It was so easy to picture them in your mind freezing their arses due to the cold and wind. Also, the animosity created a lot of tension as well. I couldn’t help but wonder who was going to crack first or throw the first punch.
“Unease creeps through me. A glance at the window, at the total and utter blackness out there, reminds me how alone we are. It’s just the five of us. Nobody else for miles and miles.”
In terms of the writing, it was very well done and I flew through it no bother. The story goes back and forth from the present to 10 years ago. We see why the characters have such animosity towards each other and what happened that broke them apart essentially. The atmospheric elements and the setting really won it for me. Like i for one definitely would not want to be in such a desolate place. As the story is focused on individuals who snowboard, I was a bit anxious about the snowboarding terms. But Allie Reynolds was an absolute champion at explaining all the flips, pipes, and maneuvers.
Now you’re probably also thinking, since it’s a suspense thriller did I instantly gather the old “who done it?’. Surprisingly I didn’t expect it! Which is always a place for me. Like who doesn’t hate getting half way through a book like “yep this wanker done it for sure”. Then reaching the reveal point and it was the person you thought 🤦🏽♂️. Thankfully Allie Reynolds keeps the twists going like a switch-frontside 1080 double cork(yes I had to Google that).
Now to the characters, there are a range of different side characters in the story. From Heather and Dale who are a married couple, Brent, Curtis, Julian, Odetta, and the cherry on the icing of the cake: Saskia. All of them had their flaws and secrets, especially Milla. I thought she was a fantastic and well rounded individual who I easily got behind. The main antagonist Saskia for me though was the best part of the book. Like holy shit you can’t help but love hating her. She was insufferable and such a pain in the arse to Milla and many of the side characters. This is what makes her disappearance even more twisty and mysterious because she did so many people dirty. Everyone basically becomes a suspect because of her antics and behaviour.
There are also some romance elements in the story. At times I found it pretty cheesy and blergh but it didn’t get in the way of my reading thankfully lol.
Overall, a fantastic winter thriller that I would like to see on the small screen in the future! I loved the twists and turns which made me race through because I wanted to know all of the secrets and mystery surrounding the characters. The atmosphere was tantalising as well, Shiver literally have me the shivers 😂. The bonus was definitely the really complex characters and the end reveal was *chefs kiss*. Very excited to read more books by Allie Reynolds in the future 😊.
Thank you Putnam for gifting me a copy! So so grateful to have read this novel.