Verdict: Highly entertaining, but not without its flaws.
My rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Published by Orenda Books, 2017
It’s 1997. Scarclaw Fell. The body of teenager Tom Jeffries is found at an outward bound centre. Verdict? Misadventure. But not everyone is convinced. And the truth of what happened in the beautiful but eerie fell is locked in the memories of the tight-knit group of friends who took that fateful trip and the flimsy testimony of those living nearby.
It’s 2017. Enter elusive investigative journalist Scott King, whose podcast examinations of complicated cases have rivalled the success of Serial, with his concealed identity making him a cult Internet figure.
While looking for a new audiobook to listen to, I saw that this one is narrated by a whole cast of people – and I had just seen a positive review for this book that had been on my radar for a while, so it did seem like fate. And for the most part I had a lot of fun listening to this. Given that the book is told in podcast format, I do think that listening to it was the best idea.
Modelled after podcasts such a Serial, this book tells the story of a group of friends and the sudden death of one of them. The idea behind the podcast is that the story will be told from six perspectives and the audience can form their own opinion. I loved this. Each new voice added another layer to the story and fleshed out the characters. I found the story highly entertaining and sped through it fairly quickly. The main narrator does his job wonderfully and the whole experience was super immersive. I will definitely be checking out the next books in the series.
But even though I had a lot of fun listening to this, I also didn’t think it was without its flaws. I saw the twist coming miles away (and I am not a prolific crime reader) and I am not so sure I find it all that convincing. Additionally, the characters were all god-awful people, which would be fine if the narrative didn’t time and time again excuse their behaviour with “teenagers being teenagers” – those people were just assholes, nothing to do with their age at all.
Another problem I had were some of the voice actors whose accents didn’t always work for me. I also found some of the sentence structures awkward when written allowed which makes no sense given that the book was supposed to be made up of podcast transcripts.