Ten years ago, Grace Sebold was convicted of murdering her boyfriend, Julian Crist, while they were attending her friend’s wedding in St. Lucia. She reached out to Sidney Ryan for help, a true crime documentarian of rising fame whose work was directly responsible for helping to free three wrongly convicted people. After some preliminary research, Sidney decides that maybe there’s something to Grace’s claim of innocence and develops the network series, The Girl of Sugar Beach, which chronicles her investigation in real time each week.
This was an utterly fascinating story that begins with Julian’s murder, told from the murderer’s first person account. We just don’t know who that person is but that voice stays with you throughout. There’s the build up during the investigation that makes it clear that there is compelling evidence to support Grace’s claim of innocence. At the same time, there’s also lots of information given about others who might have committed the crime. There are lots of red herrings, some I fell for and others I didn’t but in the end, I was ill prepared for that shocking twist. I literally was listening with my jaw dropped wide open. Did. Not. See. That. Coming.
I loved how the narrator focused on telling the story without a lot of drama. There was enough of that in the writing and she delivered it with a perfect pitch.
It is rare that I’m caught so completely off guard in a story. Yes, I’ve read books with big twists but normally the writers haven’t included enough clues to give you a shot at figuring it out on your own. This is one of those where you also shout, “But, of course!” even though you never felt that way before the conclusion. Then there’s a twist on the twist! What an absolutely cleverly written story, very Hitchcockian in its ending. Donlea is now an auto read for me.
- Release Date: July 6, 2018
- Narrator: Nina Alvamar
- Audio Length: 10 hours, 52 minutes
(I received an advance copy from the publisher in exchange for an unbiased review)