In this subpar thriller from Unger (
Last Girl Ghosted), three couples, some of whom are members of a wealthy but troubled Florida family, gather for Christmas in 2017. Mako, a tech mogul, surprises his sister, Hannah, and the others with gifts of a genetic testing kit. The next day, the group leaves for the weekend at a luxurious cabin deep in the Georgia woods, complements of the demanding Mako. Meanwhile, Alice, a single mother, tells her son, Henry, that his father was a sperm donor shortly before she dies after someone attacks her. At the cabin, Hannah feels something sinister, and when her friend Cricket arrives with boyfriend Joshua, Hannah thinks she recognizes Joshua, though they’ve never met. It’s revealed that the sperm donor, who spawned Henry and innumerable other people—including some at the cabin—was a career criminal, who between prison stints sold his sperm for money. With so many relationships and characters to keep track of, Unger overwhelms the plot, which centers on the sperm donor’s identity. But that revelation comes too late to have much of a dramatic impact. Loose ends and a crescendo of violence at the end do little to redeem the book. Unger has done better. Agent: Amy Berkower, Writers House. (Nov.)
Lisa Unger is a brilliant writer, on the top of her form. Here, she delivers yet another stellar thriller, packed with tension and twists, but also laced with nuanced insight and characterization. On this weekend away, the cabin and its owner are disquieting, the weather is menacing but the threat level is truly amped up by the disturbing family dynamics and a backstory that grips.” —Gilly Macmillan, bestselling author of
What She Knew “ Secluded Cabin Sleeps Six is a deliciously tense ride that takes a deep dive into the meaning of family and the price we'll pay for those we love.” —Ruth Ware, New York Times bestselling author of One By One "Master of suspense Lisa Unger ratchets up the tension in her twentieth spellbinding outing, Secluded Cabin Sleeps Six. Blending an adrenaline-fueled plot and an expertly drawn cast of characters, Unger is at her atmospheric best in this wickedly chilling story of a getaway gone wrong. In Secluded Cabin Sleeps Six, Unger yanks readers down a dark, twisty path teeming with secrets, obsession, and revenge—I still can’t catch my breath. If you pick up just one thriller this year, make it this one." —Heather Gudenkauf, New York Times bestselling author of The Overnight Guest "Hidden history and 21st-century technology collide in a breathtaking thriller." — Kirkus, starred review "Embedded in a riveting novel of suspense is a revealing examination of the dangers inherent in public DNA sharing...[Lisa Unger] is in good form here, in her twentieth outing, and her fans will be eager to dive right in." — Booklist "Genetics and nature-versus-nurture take the spotlight in Unger’s 20th novel...Readers will revel in the search for genealogical justice amid best-kept secrets, while wondering who will live and who will die.” — Library Journal, starred review “Terrifying… Keep the lights on.” — PEOPLE
Genetics and nature-versus-nurture take the spotlight in Unger's 20th novel (following
Last Girl Ghosted). The Origins DNA testing kits hidden behind Hannah and Mako's parents' Christmas tree surprise the family, but no one admits to bringing them. Mako's wife, Liza, throws hers into the trash, and the others aren't sure about submitting. Six months later, Hannah and her husband, Mako and Liza, and Hannah's best friend and her boyfriend vacation at a remote luxury cabin in the Georgia woods, funded by the larger-than-life Mako. Although everyone seems happy and relaxed, each has secrets, and they learn someone has uncovered family secrets—an outside force is manipulating the couples. The quest for truth and justice—and a violent storm—soon shred the healing power of nature. Exploring genetic origins raises the questions about DNA and destiny, how well we know the people closest to us, and how far we would go to protect them. VERDICT For fans of creepy, cunning locked-room thrillers based on controversial social norms. Readers will revel in the search for genealogical justice amid best-kept secrets, while wondering who will live and who will die. —K. L. Romo
A luxury vacation turns into a chain-reaction explosion of dark secrets in this tense tale.
Hannah frets over being away from her baby daughter for the first time, but she and her workaholic husband, Bruce, do need a break. And the vacation Hannah’s older brother, Mako, has arranged sounds too sumptuous to pass up: a long weekend in a luxury cabin deep in the North Georgia woods, complete with gourmet chef, in-house massage, and more. Mako has become wildly wealthy running a video game company, and he’s picking up the tab for all of it. The group also includes Mako’s wife, Liza, whom Hannah hopes to get closer to, and Hannah’s longtime best friend (and Mako’s ex-girlfriend), party girl Cricket. The only unknown is Cricket’s new boyfriend, Joshua. Well, Hannah thinks that’s the only unknown, but she’ll be proven wrong. The three couples arrive for the summer getaway despite a tropical storm brewing in the Atlantic that could curve their way. There are tales of ghosts on the property that suggest past violence there, but those could just be an inventive selling point. The host and cabin owner, Bracken, definitely has a creepy air, though (and almost no online footprint), and even scarier, his promise of Wi-Fi might not be reliable. This is Unger’s 20th novel, and she builds tension skillfully from Page 1 of a prologue about Christmas dinner with Hannah’s family, which ends bitterly over a mysterious gift of DNA test kits for everyone, which everyone claims to know nothing about. By the time the vacationers reach the cabin, the ominous mood is in place and everything seems disturbing, from the gleaming array of knives in the kitchen to a skull-shaped chandelier. Before they even make it through the first night’s dinner, one of the six disappears, and so does contact with the outside world. The others begin a frantic search as the storm blows in and as it becomes clear that all of them are in peril—but from whom, and why?
Hidden history and 21st-century technology collide in a breathtaking thriller.
A deliciously tense ride that takes a deep dive into the meaning of family and the price we’ll pay for those we love.”
New York Times bestselling author Ruth Ware