I love a good locked room murder mystery, and that’s what I was hoping for with The Cabin, but it’s not at all what I got. A group of friends who just finished high school and have known each other for years is spending a weekend partying with no parents. After a night of drinking, two of them end up murdered and it is up to our protagonist, Mackenzie, to discover which of her friends is the cold-blooded killer.
I’m not even sure where to start with all the things that I found wrong with this book. The plot is thin and unbelievable at pretty much every turn. There is randomness throughout and due to the characters’ lack of development and plausibility, it is difficult to believe any of what is going on throughout the novel.
I struggled to find anything I liked about the protagonist. She was obsessed with Blake, the brother of one of the murder victims who she had confidence wasn’t the killer and couldn’t wait to be in a relationship with throughout the novel. Yet, she was pedantic and it took all I could not to yell at the book and find something that didn’t irritate me about her.
The other characters are not fleshed out enough to make things plausible. The fact that Mackenzie, who has no prior experience with murder or mystery is doing a better job of solving the crime than the police (who are made to be rude and unresponsive to her complaints), makes the reading even more tedious.
The dialogue is choppy and the plot is lacking any real believability. It reads like something that would be workshopped in an undergraduate creative writing class. Even if I am not a fan of every aspect of a novel, I attempt to find something redeemable in the text, but I can’t think of anything in The Cabin that makes it worth reading. The ending (if you make it that far) made me want to throw the book across the room. If I had to pick one good thing about the book, it would probably be the cover.
Note: This review was first published in PCA/ACA Mystery & Detective Reading List (Spring 2017)