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.
Title: Saint X | Author: Alexis Schaitkin| Publisher: Celadon Books| Pub. Date: 18 Feb 2020 | Length: 340 pages| IBSN: 978-9056726317| Genre: Mystery| Language: English | Source: libro.fm | Starred Review
Saint X Review
I was really close to DNFing Saint X near the beginning. Early descriptions of characters felt incredibly one dimensional; for example, some of the men discussed from afar are referred to as ‘the ‘fat’ one’ and ‘the ‘thin’ one’. I totally get that this is because we are purposefully kept at a distance when the scene is being set, which is why I gave Saint X more of a chance, it just didn’t seem overly necessary and felt overused early on when we are in the day and age when this kind of descriptions are harmful and unnecessary. Anyway, I continued because I felt petty having those thoughts and I was intrigued to find out where this book would go, and who was behind the murder of Alison.
This book is incredibly slow paced, with a lot of detail and a lot of build-up (which is probably one of the reasons I got on so well with it). Told in true crime fashion, this book switches between the past and the present, between characters, and the chapters vary in formats.
This book has themes of identity and grief. Claire, who is only 7 when she loses her sister, has never had closure about her sister’s death, having been so young when it happened and the case never being solved, now wants answers. It is also about perspectives and about race. Schaitkin deals with the social issues really well, and while all of the characters are not really likeable at all, I didn’t really mind this for this story, it didn’t put me off at all.
I listened to an audio copy of this book from libro.fm. The audio is really great, and the collection of narrators do a fab job!
I would definitely be interested to read more by Schaitkin.
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