Bookworm: ‘Secluded Cabins’ is worth a peek
“Secluded Cabin Sleeps Six”
- By Lisa Unger
- c. 2022, Park Row Books
- $27.99, 400 pages
Someone is peeking on you. You don't know where they are. You haven’t caught them yet, but you can feel them: the hairs on the back of your neck are standing at attention. You're trying to resist the urge to jump, scream, and run away but nowhere is safe. Someone is watching you and, as in the new book "Secluded Cabin Sleeps Six" by Lisa Unger, they're right outside your door.
He'd promised it would be fun. Hannah's brother, Mako, was one of those generous guys who never accepted "no" so when he paid for an entire long weekend at a cabin in the woods in Georgia – food, drink, cabin, and all – she knew that neither she nor her husband, Bruce, or Hannah's best friend, Cricket, would ever get out of going. Everybody shrugged. That was Mako.
Were it left up to Hannah, she'd never leave her house. She and Bruce were parents to a toddler that was the light of their life. Then again, getting away occasionally was good, right?
The first indication that this was a really bad idea was that everyone lost cell phone reception on the way to the cabin; to say that it was remote was an understatement. To say that it was a "cabin" was a bit of a stretch, too: the place was more like a mansion and the staff was super-creepy.
Hannah could have handled that – always a can-do kind of person, she was the calm in a storm (and there was a storm coming!) – but this retreat really put her on edge. Back when they were teenagers, Mako dated Cricket and she was flirting with him in the hot tub, in front of everyone. Bruce seemed preoccupied with work, and the WiFi was iffy. So was the electricity, just after Cricket's boyfriend took Mako's car and disappeared to who-knows-where.
As the storm raged around them, Hannah felt absolutely sure that everything about this whole weekend was wrong: her housemates, the setting. Everything, including the fact that they were not alone...
As thrillers go, "Secluded Cabin Sleeps Six" is pretty okay. Not great, but nowhere near bad. Pretty okay, with a few disappointments, one of which is that eagle-eyed readers will have the ending figured out long before the middle of the story.
And yet, that's pretty okay because author Lisa Unger offers a few twists getting to the end, a few novelistic (but quick) sex scenes, and a surprise or two up her sleeve that could keep thriller fans around, even if it's only to see the worst characters get their best comeuppances. On that, there's much to dislike about some of the people in this novel and more than a mere shade of schadenfraude to be had.
This is probably not a story that will thrill heavy-duty thriller fans; it's really too tame for that. But if you're in need of something that won't tax your overworked brain at this busiest time of year, "Secluded Cabins Sleeps Six" is worth a peek.
The Bookworm is Terri Schlichenmeyer. She has been reading since she was 3 years old and never goes anywhere without a book. Terri lives on a hill in Wisconsin with two dogs and 11,000 books. Read past columns at marconews.com.