Page Count 336
Publication date July 2021
Newlyweds Lina and Cain don’t make it out to their vacation home on gorgeous Lake Tarawera as often as they’d like, so when Cain suggests they rent the property out on weekends, Lina reluctantly agrees. While the home has been special to her family for generations, their neighbors are all signing up to host renters, and frankly, she and Cain could use the extra money. What could go wrong? And at first, Lina is amazed at how quickly guests line up to spend a weekend–and at how much they’re willing to pay.
But both Lina and Cain have been keeping secrets, secrets that won’t be kept out by a new alarm system or a locked cupboard. When strange things begin happening on their property, and a visit takes a deadly turn, Lina becomes convinced that someone out there knows something they shouldn’t–and that when they come for her, there will be nowhere left to hide.
I first discovered J P Pomare when reading In The Clearing, a fantastic bit of cult drama (review here), and was pleased to receive an ARC of The Last Guests.
The synopsis for this novel is refreshingly vague, perhaps that seems a strange comment to make? Too often these days I find a book blurb or a movie trailer gives away too much of the story, but going in to The Last Guests all you know is that Lina and Cain have secrets and are renting out their lakeside cabin (AirB&B style).
My review will be a short one as I think it’s best to let the author lead the reader. For me the discovery is the best part.
The story is told by Lina in first person present, we know what she knows and nothing more. Well, maybe a little more. The chapters of The Last Guests are punctuated by little text snippets -rules, descriptions and announcements- from an anonymous site called ‘Peephole’.
Peephole is a streaming site that links live video feeds from hidden cameras inside rented accommodations, put in place by their ‘planters’ for the entertainment of all kinds of voyeurs and perverts at a fee.
And that, readers, is all I will say on the plot.
There is no black or white in this novel, everyone is good, everyone is bad, each character fighting valiantly for their own picture perfect life.
Pomare doesn’t flinch from the uglier side of humanity and wields it well in his writing.
The Last Guests maintains a good plot pace with plenty of action and just enough character development to draw investment. I didn’t care for the epilogue, as often is the case I found it unnecessary, but very much enjoyed the story.
Fair warning, it might well put you off hosted accomodations for life!