Claire is only seven years old when her college-age sister, Alison, disappears on the last night of their family vacation at a resort on the Caribbean island of Saint X. Several days later, Alison’s body is found in a remote spot on a nearby cay, and two local men – employees at the resort - are arrested. But the evidence is slim, the timeline against it, and the men are soon released. The story turns into national tabloid news, a lurid mystery that will go unsolved. For Claire and her parents, there is only the return home to broken lives.
Years later, Claire is living and working in New York City when a brief but fateful encounter brings her together with Clive Richardson, one of the men originally suspected of murdering her sister. It is a moment that sets Claire on an obsessive pursuit of the truth - not only to find out what happened the night of Alison’s death but also to answer the elusive question: Who exactly was her sister? At seven, Claire had been barely old enough to know her: a beautiful, changeable, provocative girl of eighteen at a turbulent moment of identity formation.
As Claire doggedly shadows Clive, hoping to gain his trust, waiting for the slip that will reveal the truth, an unlikely attachment develops between them, two people whose lives were forever marked by the same tragedy.
The Sexy Nerd ‘Revue’
This novel reads like a murder documentary on Investigation Discovery. When Claire was a little girl, her family and she went to the Caribbean for their family vacation. As vacations go, it was a typical vacation. Alison at age eighteen, wanted to do what teenagers do—hang out, drink, party and have fun, fun, fun. That was all well and good for Claire who looked up to her big sister, but being the youngest didn’t afford her the same luxuries her sister enjoyed.
On the last night of their stay, Claire recalled seeing her sister leave their room or perhaps she was imagining it? Either way, when her parents awoke the next morning, and Alison was not in her room, needless to say, all hell broke loose. Alison’s disappearance is a parents’ worse nightmare. Where could their daughter have gone and with whom? Why would she leave without letting them know where she would be? As other tourists were enjoying the island of Saint X, unfortunately, one vacationer stumbled across Alison’s lifeless body floating just beneath the waterfall giving off the eerie look of a fractured mermaid.
What in the world? The police of Saint X conducted a full-on investigation. As a result of their thorough investigation, two young men who worked at the resort of Saint X were apprehended and held for questioning. The only problem was, there wasn’t enough sufficient evidence to hold them. Unfortunately, the police had no choice but to turn these young men loose. Hmm, that certainly didn’t sit well with Alison’s parents.
Alison has been gone for as many years as she lived. Claire is now an adult with a job and living in New York City moving along with her life, as life dictates, when she grabs a taxi to head to an appointment. Just as Claire was about to exit that taxi, she noticed the man driving it was none other than one of the young men accused of murdering her sister some eighteen years prior. Was this a coincidence or something more sinister at play here to toy with Claire’s mind? And that, readers, is where this story takes off and soars.
OMG, this was an incredible story! I must admit, at first glance, I almost abandoned the book because the very beginning was extremely boring. To be fair, Schaitkin was laying the foundation for what was to come so she gave plenty of backstory within the first ten percent of the book. Once I got the rhythm of where she was going, I couldn’t put the book down. I hated to go back to work because I just wanted to find out, who the hell killed Alison?
With that being said, I must admit the ending was quite a shocker! I was not expecting what I got, and although I get how everything came together, I was a bit disappointed. As I was reading, I had about six scenarios playing around in my mind, and I was praying that one of them was going to be the ending, but Schaitkin took me down a completely different path that I did not see coming. In most cases, this would be a good thing, but for as well as she wrote this book, I just wasn’t satisfied with the ending. I wanted more for all the words I’d invested in, and I felt shortchanged.
Even though the ending made me feel this way, it did not take away from the story. It is all that I said it was, and it was worth my time and energy to read it. It was so damn good. I really can’t stress that. You may wonder how I can say it was good and then not be in love with the ending? Well, that’s a fair question and an easy one to answer. Authors aren’t always going to venture down the path you may way to go as a reader, but that doesn’t take away the greatness of the story. I’ve read some amazing books through my lifetime and I did not like the ending to all of those stories, but I still enjoyed the ride. This is why I’m a “true” avid reader. When you are, you appreciate all types of writers, whether you agree with their style or not.
Overall, the Sexy Nerd gives Saint X four sips of margaritas while relaxing on the beach. Saint X was one of those stories that will stick with you for the rest of your life. I’ll never forget the rich characters, the beautiful scenery of the island, and its people. You can find Saint X at your favorite book retailers. Enjoy!