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For generations Blackwood Bay, a quaint village in northern England, has been famous only for the smuggling that occurred along its coastline centuries ago, but then two local girls disappear bringing the town a fresh and dark notoriety. When Alex, an ambitious documentary filmmaker, arrives in Blackwood Bay, she intends to have the residents record their own stories as he For generations Blackwood Bay, a quaint village in northern England, has been famous only for the smuggling that occurred along its coastline centuries ago, but then two local girls disappear bringing the town a fresh and dark notoriety. When Alex, an ambitious documentary filmmaker, arrives in Blackwood Bay, she intends to have the residents record their own stories as her next project. But instead of a quaint community, Alex finds a village blighted by economic downturn and haunted by a tragedy that overshadows every corner. Alex pushes on with her work, but secrets old and new rise to the surface, raising tensions and suspicions in a town already on edge. Alex’s work takes her to dark places and uncomfortable truths which threaten to lead to a deadly unravelling.


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For generations Blackwood Bay, a quaint village in northern England, has been famous only for the smuggling that occurred along its coastline centuries ago, but then two local girls disappear bringing the town a fresh and dark notoriety. When Alex, an ambitious documentary filmmaker, arrives in Blackwood Bay, she intends to have the residents record their own stories as he For generations Blackwood Bay, a quaint village in northern England, has been famous only for the smuggling that occurred along its coastline centuries ago, but then two local girls disappear bringing the town a fresh and dark notoriety. When Alex, an ambitious documentary filmmaker, arrives in Blackwood Bay, she intends to have the residents record their own stories as her next project. But instead of a quaint community, Alex finds a village blighted by economic downturn and haunted by a tragedy that overshadows every corner. Alex pushes on with her work, but secrets old and new rise to the surface, raising tensions and suspicions in a town already on edge. Alex’s work takes her to dark places and uncomfortable truths which threaten to lead to a deadly unravelling.

30 review for Final Cut

  1. 4 out of 5

    Sandy *The world could end while I was reading and I would never notice*

    EXCERPT: I lay on the bed staring at the ceiling, my open phone heavy in my hand. I'd found only one number in the memory. It seemed simple. If I wanted to find out who I was, all I had to do was dial it. So why couldn't I do it? ABOUT THIS BOOK: For generations Blackwood Bay, a quaint village in northern England, has been famous only for the smuggling that occurred along its coastline centuries ago, but then two local girls disappear bringing the town a fresh and dark notoriety. When Alex, an am EXCERPT: I lay on the bed staring at the ceiling, my open phone heavy in my hand. I'd found only one number in the memory. It seemed simple. If I wanted to find out who I was, all I had to do was dial it. So why couldn't I do it? ABOUT THIS BOOK: For generations Blackwood Bay, a quaint village in northern England, has been famous only for the smuggling that occurred along its coastline centuries ago, but then two local girls disappear bringing the town a fresh and dark notoriety. When Alex, an ambitious documentary filmmaker, arrives in Blackwood Bay, she intends to have the residents record their own stories as her next project. But instead of a quaint community, Alex finds a village blighted by economic downturn and haunted by a tragedy that overshadows every corner. Alex pushes on with her work, but secrets old and new rise to the surface, raising tensions and suspicions in a town already on edge. Alex’s work takes her to dark places and uncomfortable truths which threaten to lead to a deadly unravelling. MY THOUGHTS: I loved Second Life by S.J. Watson, it earned a glorious five stars from me. But Final Cut? I struggled to finish it. Had I been given this book with no previous experience of the author, I would have said that it was a debut novel, and not a very good one at that. There is a lot of dialogue, far too much, and far too many questions, endless questions. These two things killed what little suspense there was for me. And there was very little of that. Occasional flashes of brilliance shine through - like the grave on the moors. I got excited at that point, certain that all was going to come right and that this was going to be the great read I had been expecting. That didn't happen. Instead, the storyline seemed to get bogged down in itself and I lost interest. I even thought about not finishing it, but read on in the hope that my faith in this author would be justified. There is nothing new in this plot. We have a young woman with amnesia, drawn back to her home town. Missing teenage girls - of whom 'Alex' is one. But no one recognizes her (there's a reason for that which just didn't gel for me), and she doesn't seem to recognize many people in the village either. Her mother is conveniently no longer living there. And no mention is made of people she may have gone to school with . . . So, we have an unreliable narrator, a mysterious man living in an isolated house, an abandoned caravan, three missing girls, and strange behaviour by the villagers. It sounds enticing, doesn't it? Like it should be a good suspenseful mystery. But it's not. It flounders. And it has one of those endings that I just hate - where all is 'explained' in a conversation, this one between 'Alex' and her psychiatrist. 🤦‍♀️🤦‍♀️ #FinalCut #NetGalley THE AUTHOR: S.J. Watson was born in the UK, lives in London, and worked in the NHS for several years. DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Random House, Transworld Publishers via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of Final Cut by S.J. Watson for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions. A lot of other readers love this book. Reading is a very personal subjective experience, and not every book is for every reader. So, if you enjoyed the extract, and the plot summary interests you, please do read Final Cut by S.J. Watson. I hope that you are one of the many who love this book. For an explanation of my rating system please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the about page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com This review and others are also published on Twitter, Amazon, Instagram, and my webpage https://sandysbookaday.wordpress.com/...

  2. 4 out of 5

    Ceecee

    Alex is a documentary film maker. She is commissioned by Channel 4 to make a fly on the wall type film about Blackwood Bay, a small Yorkshire coastal village. Alex travels there with a heavy heart as the village has an unsettling past. Several girls have gone missing over the last ten years, one of them, a girl called Daisy is reputed to have committed suicide. Alex knows the place but how and why? Over the following few days, Alex begins to have some perturbing partial memories which haunt her. Alex is a documentary film maker. She is commissioned by Channel 4 to make a fly on the wall type film about Blackwood Bay, a small Yorkshire coastal village. Alex travels there with a heavy heart as the village has an unsettling past. Several girls have gone missing over the last ten years, one of them, a girl called Daisy is reputed to have committed suicide. Alex knows the place but how and why? Over the following few days, Alex begins to have some perturbing partial memories which haunt her. She starts to ask a lot of questions to make sense of this and her feelings that something bad is happening is further reinforced by some of the film clips villagers send her. What is the truth? What happens to the girls? Alex is determined to find out. Alex tells the story which is interspersed with news and case reports from a few years ago. The premise is good as is the first half of the book which has a sense of mystery, intrigue and a ghostly element. The setting is very atmospheric with the steep streets, quaint shops, surrounded by the North York Moors and enclosed with secrets. I imagine somewhere like Robin Hoods Bay which helps me to get a vision in my head! There are some intriguing elements that bind the missing girls together and Alex’s returning memories are interesting as a lot of these are raw and show she sank low at one point. The characters are good with a mix of likeable, unlikeable and untrustworthy. Unfortunately, about half way through the storyline flatlines and is never shocked back into life. It goes round and round in circles, with pointless questions and oh boy, are there ever a lot of questions, there’s too much navel (and star) gazing, the plot wears thin, so much becomes obvious so the element of surprise is gone and it goes on and on with no resolution in sight. The tension and menace of the first half diminishes and the conclusion is so melodramatic I just didn’t buy it. This is such a pity as the first half I’d rate a four star and the second is sadly a two star, hence the meet in the middle three. Overall, this was shaping up to be a good read but the momentum disappears which is disappointing. With thanks to NetGalley and Penguin Random House for the ARC.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Javier

    Alex is a film maker going back to shoot her latest documentary to Blackwood Bay, her hometown, a seaside town where in the last ten years a girl committed suicide and another two went missing. When she was young she suffered some kind of trauma that caused her dissociative amnesia so when she goes back she intends to find out what happened to her and the other girls. While not being the most original premise it started strong enough with a MC with an intriguing backstory, a good set of character Alex is a film maker going back to shoot her latest documentary to Blackwood Bay, her hometown, a seaside town where in the last ten years a girl committed suicide and another two went missing. When she was young she suffered some kind of trauma that caused her dissociative amnesia so when she goes back she intends to find out what happened to her and the other girls. While not being the most original premise it started strong enough with a MC with an intriguing backstory, a good set of characters (maybe too many) and an atmosferic setting that added to that sense of menace. But it came a point where the story started to stall, going aroung in circles and not getting anywhere. It felt like Alex was in a hamster wheel! We get a lot of "I can't tell you", "you better get out of here", "it's better you don't know" and loaded glances and silences. Come on! What's the point of having Alex investigate if no one is telling her anything. Communicate, people, COMMUNICATE! Alex running around Blackwood Bay trying to solve something It's not till the last 25% that it picks up some pace again, but the ending felt a bit contrived and the big twist wasn't so surprising as I've recently read another book with the exact same one, so I saw it coming from afar. Not a bad book per se, but for fans of psychological suspense one we've already read dozens of times. Thanks to Netgalley and Random House UK/Transworld Publishers for providing an eARC in exchange for an honest review.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Ken

    A gripping slow burner that delves into past trauma and the lingering presence of a tragedy that continues to effect a small community. Budding filmmaker Alex travels to the North Yorkshire seaside town of Blackwater Bay. The previously vibrant destination is still haunted by the disappearance of two young girls along with a third having also committed suicide 10 years previously - it's now quite literally a ghost town and an ideal place for Alex's next documentary. The mistrust and closed ranks b A gripping slow burner that delves into past trauma and the lingering presence of a tragedy that continues to effect a small community. Budding filmmaker Alex travels to the North Yorkshire seaside town of Blackwater Bay. The previously vibrant destination is still haunted by the disappearance of two young girls along with a third having also committed suicide 10 years previously - it's now quite literally a ghost town and an ideal place for Alex's next documentary. The mistrust and closed ranks by the locals really helps set the mood. Whilst Alex's determination to discover the truth might turn out to be a little more than she had expected... Admittedly this psychological thriller isn't entirely an original concept especially how the story plays out but it still had me hooked! What I initially found quite intriguing was the fascination of true crime shows and their popularity meaning those who had been directly affected having the past brought up all over again. I soon realised how invested I'd become as the final third is practically intense.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Mandy White (mandylovestoread)

    Well, SJ Watson has done it again with Final Cut. His first book, Before I Go To Sleep, is one of my favourite books (the movie not so much) and I was so excited to read his new book. As always, his characters are real and flawed, his settings are dark and creepy and the story was twisty and enthralling. I was not disappointed and recommend this to mystery book lovers. It is a slow burn, with alot of scene setting, background on characters and jumping between the past and present. I devoured it o Well, SJ Watson has done it again with Final Cut. His first book, Before I Go To Sleep, is one of my favourite books (the movie not so much) and I was so excited to read his new book. As always, his characters are real and flawed, his settings are dark and creepy and the story was twisty and enthralling. I was not disappointed and recommend this to mystery book lovers. It is a slow burn, with alot of scene setting, background on characters and jumping between the past and present. I devoured it over a few nights and was sad when it was over. I love the way SJ Watson writes, it is very visual. I was lucky enough to attend an online chat with him and Anna Downes a few weeks ago. It is always interesting to hear how writers get their ideas and get them from their head to the final book. Our main character is Alex, a young documentary maker. She returns to Blackwood Bay, a village in the north of England to film a fly on the wall special about the town. Little do the residents realise that she grew up here, but she has changed so much since then. But her memory is foggy at best. Alex isn't the only one with secrets, it seems that everybody has something to hide. There are missing girls and the suicide of another teenage girl in the towns dirty laundry. Nobody wants to talk about that, but Alex wants to know what happened and why. Fragments of her memory start to come back to her during her investigation and soon she finds that the past is coming back to haunt her. Absolutely fantastic book. All the stars!

  6. 5 out of 5

    Pauline

    Alex is sent to make a film in her home town of Blackwood Bay. She hasn’t been home for a long time because of an incident that happened to her that she has little memory of. Two girls have gone missing and the town is suspicious of people arriving asking questions. A slow moving psychological thriller. Thank you to NetGalley and Random House UK, Transworld Publishers for my e-copy in exchange for an honest review.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Sandy *The world could end while I was reading and I would never notice*

    EXCERPT: I lay on the bed staring at the ceiling, my open phone heavy in my hand. I'd found only one number in the memory. It seemed simple. If I wanted to find out who I was, all I had to do was dial it. So why couldn't I do it? ABOUT THIS BOOK: For generations Blackwood Bay, a quaint village in northern England, has been famous only for the smuggling that occurred along its coastline centuries ago, but then two local girls disappear bringing the town a fresh and dark notoriety. When Alex, an am EXCERPT: I lay on the bed staring at the ceiling, my open phone heavy in my hand. I'd found only one number in the memory. It seemed simple. If I wanted to find out who I was, all I had to do was dial it. So why couldn't I do it? ABOUT THIS BOOK: For generations Blackwood Bay, a quaint village in northern England, has been famous only for the smuggling that occurred along its coastline centuries ago, but then two local girls disappear bringing the town a fresh and dark notoriety. When Alex, an ambitious documentary filmmaker, arrives in Blackwood Bay, she intends to have the residents record their own stories as her next project. But instead of a quaint community, Alex finds a village blighted by economic downturn and haunted by a tragedy that overshadows every corner. Alex pushes on with her work, but secrets old and new rise to the surface, raising tensions and suspicions in a town already on edge. Alex’s work takes her to dark places and uncomfortable truths which threaten to lead to a deadly unravelling. MY THOUGHTS: I loved Second Life by S.J. Watson, it earned a glorious five stars from me. But Final Cut? I struggled to finish it. Had I been given this book with no previous experience of the author, I would have said that it was a debut novel, and not a very good one at that. There is a lot of dialogue, far too much, and far too many questions, endless. These two things killed what little suspense there was for me. And there was very little of that. Occasional flashes of brilliance shine through - like the grave on the moors. I got excited at that point, certain that all was going to come right and that this was going to be the great read I had been expecting. That didn't happen. Instead, the storyline seemed to get bogged down in itself and I lost interest. I even thought about not finishing it, but read on in the hope that my faith in this author would be justified. There is nothing new in this plot. We have a young woman with amnesia, drawn back to her home town. Missing teenage girls - of whom 'Alex' is one. But no one recognizes her (there's a reason for that which just didn't gel for me), and she doesn't seem to recognize many people in the village either. Her mother is conveniently no longer living there. And no mention is made of people she may have gone to school with . . . So, we have an unreliable narrator, a mysterious man living in an isolated house, an abandoned caravan, three missing girls, and strange behaviour by the villagers. It sounds enticing, doesn't it? Like it should be a good suspenseful mystery. But it's not. It flounders. And it has one of those endings that I just hate - where all is 'explained' in a conversation, this one between 'Alex' and her psychiatrist. 🤦‍♀️🤦‍♀️ #FinalCut #NetGalley THE AUTHOR: S.J. Watson was born in the UK, lives in London, and worked in the NHS for several years. DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Random House, Transworld Publishers via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of Final Cut by S.J. Watson for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions. A lot of other readers love this book. Reading is a very personal subjective experience, and not every book is for every reader. So, if you enjoyed the extract, and the plot summary interests you, please do read Final Cut by S.J. Watson. I hope that you are one of the many who love this book. For an explanation of my rating system please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the about page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com This review and others are also published on Twitter, Amazon, Instagram, and my webpage

  8. 5 out of 5

    Farshana ❤️rainnbooks❤️

    Many thanks to Net Galley, Random House UK, Transworld Publishers and the author for the ARC of this book. #FinalCut #NetGalley Let me begin with an apology to the author S J Watson, for having kept his phenomenally successful Before I Go To Sleep in the mountainous TBR pile for few years now. After reading Final Cut, I am cursing myself for not having gobbled up every work that the author has published. I have raised my head from the kindle, walked around quite a bit and gave it a day before I cou Many thanks to Net Galley, Random House UK, Transworld Publishers and the author for the ARC of this book. #FinalCut #NetGalley Let me begin with an apology to the author S J Watson, for having kept his phenomenally successful Before I Go To Sleep in the mountainous TBR pile for few years now. After reading Final Cut, I am cursing myself for not having gobbled up every work that the author has published. I have raised my head from the kindle, walked around quite a bit and gave it a day before I could calm my heart to write this review. Of course, the burning eyes also needed a respite after that intense concentration to keep going and going and going in the race to finish and find the truth. Alex Young is in Blackwood Bay, the last place she wants to be for a documentary film. The quiet fishing village harbors dark secrets with 2 girls missing and 1 having committed suicide, but Alex, suffering from a traumatic past that has left her with dissociative amnesia is determined to unravel the past and the reasons for her fugue state. The past seems to be holding sway even in the present as Alex finds out about young 13 and 14 yr old girls being lured by drugs and booze for causes unknown. As Alex delves further into the mystery, clueless about whom to trust and battling her own fractured mind, the story becomes more murkier like the black waters surrounding the village. Many characters get introduced into the story and there’s quite a bit of going round and round with almost all the people refusing to confide in Alex and talk about the missing girls but the final part of the story was cracking with menace, the atmospheric feel in the story adding to the chill factor. As fans of psychological thrillers, the twists and turns can be fairly guessed at, but still the book was extremely compelling and riveting enough that I had a real hard time keeping it down for even a sec. Well deserved 4.5 stars!

  9. 5 out of 5

    Liz Barnsley

    I'm a fan of S J Watson's writing and storytelling generally speaking and Final Cut was again a well written and well plotted novel so as far as quality goes, excellent. The story is a fairly standard psychological thriller- girl returns to town she fled years ago, lacking memory of reasons for trauma, the town is hiding secrets and we have plenty of twisty happenings. It is very readable and entertaining, I got through it in two large bites and enjoyed it for the most part. I guess my one littl I'm a fan of S J Watson's writing and storytelling generally speaking and Final Cut was again a well written and well plotted novel so as far as quality goes, excellent. The story is a fairly standard psychological thriller- girl returns to town she fled years ago, lacking memory of reasons for trauma, the town is hiding secrets and we have plenty of twisty happenings. It is very readable and entertaining, I got through it in two large bites and enjoyed it for the most part. I guess my one little bugbear is that despite the authors very obvious talent the story itself is probably one of the most predictable I've read in a while. That is subjective of course and I do read this type of book a lot so am used to the various tropes of the genre -that plays into the predictability or lack thereof in any that I read. But you know this is, at the heart of it, a book you may well feel you've read multiple times already. That said it didn't stop me liking it. The characters were intriguing and well drawn and it was a good read to while away an afternoon with.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Lou

    Final Cut is a captivating psychological thriller in which SJ Watson explores themes of memory and identity as a young documentary filmmaker travels to a quiet fishing village to shoot a new film, only to encounter a dark mystery surrounding the disappearance of a local girl. For generations Blackwood Bay, a quaint village in northern England, has been famous only for the smuggling that occurred along its coastline centuries ago, but then two local girls disappear bringing the town a fresh and d Final Cut is a captivating psychological thriller in which SJ Watson explores themes of memory and identity as a young documentary filmmaker travels to a quiet fishing village to shoot a new film, only to encounter a dark mystery surrounding the disappearance of a local girl. For generations Blackwood Bay, a quaint village in northern England, has been famous only for the smuggling that occurred along its coastline centuries ago, but then two local girls disappear bringing the town a fresh and dark notoriety. When Alex, an ambitious documentary filmmaker, arrives in Blackwood Bay, she intends to have the residents record their own stories as her next project. But instead of a quaint community, Alex finds a village blighted by economic downturn and haunted by a tragedy that overshadows every corner. Alex pushes on with her work, but secrets old and new rise to the surface, raising tensions and suspicions in a town already on edge. Alex's work takes her to dark places and uncomfortable truths which threaten to lead to a deadly unravelling. Shifting seamlessly between past and present-day to create a fully rounded narrative, we are treated to an intense slow-burn thriller with a tense and oppressive atmosphere which continues the whole way through. Blackwood Bay is almost afforded cult-like status in the book and it was described in such a way that, let's just say, you'll want to avoid visiting. It's the same small-town case of secrets, lies and skeletons awaiting escape from the closet and certain individuals who will do anything to stop the truth from emerging. As with most close-knit community, many residents know exactly what is or has gone on but carry on with their lives and ignore it. That said, there are the local busybody's who enjoy nothing better than gossiping in the street about other peoples business. Main protagonist, Alex, is a likeable yet mysterious character and it becomes clear later in the book that she is more involved than we initially realised. All in all, a riveting and gripping story in which nothing is what it appears. Many thanks to Doubleday for an ARC.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Renny Barcelos

    This was a huge disappointment, although I should have known better after this author's second book, which I did not like at all. I loved Before I go to Sleep, but perhaps it's time to part ways with S. J. Watson, since clearly the other novels were not for my taste. ***Be aware of minor spoilers ahead*** What we have here is another drama that resembles more a soap opera than a psychological thriller, full of cliches (I swear, I can't anymore with the fugue states and dissociative memories. It's This was a huge disappointment, although I should have known better after this author's second book, which I did not like at all. I loved Before I go to Sleep, but perhaps it's time to part ways with S. J. Watson, since clearly the other novels were not for my taste. ***Be aware of minor spoilers ahead*** What we have here is another drama that resembles more a soap opera than a psychological thriller, full of cliches (I swear, I can't anymore with the fugue states and dissociative memories. It's been done and redone so, but so many times by now, please authors, just stop!) and weak characters that can't hold the flimsy plot. We can see almost all the supposed twists from the beginning and the first person narration does not help matters at all.. I also did not like the dialogue, and was never really engaged with the story. All in all this was not the novel for me but I can imagine others liking it since the trope of "unreliable narrator girl who has to come back to her small town where she suffered so much she even blocked some memories but now she'll solve everything and finally she'll be happy" seems to be in yet... I'd like to thank NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with an ARC of this book in exchange for my honest review.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Bruce Hatton

    As in his first two novels, Mr. Watson’s third novel features a female protagonist. And, as before, she is one troubled lady. Film maker Alex Young has been commissioned by her producer, Dan to produce a documentary about the small remote coastal town of Blackwood Bay. What Dan doesn’t know, however, is that Alex has past links to Blackwood Bay; links she has long ago severed and has no wish reconnecting. We soon learn that Alex isn’t whom she claims to be, but who is she really? Whilst, ostensibl As in his first two novels, Mr. Watson’s third novel features a female protagonist. And, as before, she is one troubled lady. Film maker Alex Young has been commissioned by her producer, Dan to produce a documentary about the small remote coastal town of Blackwood Bay. What Dan doesn’t know, however, is that Alex has past links to Blackwood Bay; links she has long ago severed and has no wish reconnecting. We soon learn that Alex isn’t whom she claims to be, but who is she really? Whilst, ostensibly, she seems to be making a standard documentary about small-town life, in reality she is drawn to the unexplained deaths and disappearances of several young girls from Blackwood Bay over the previous ten years. The tensions and mysteries build slowly and engagingly throughout the course of the novel. However I felt a few implausibilities crept in towards the end. It was as if most of the central characters were suffering some degree of amnesia. In all, a pretty decent psychological thriller. Not on a par with the author’s debut Before I Go To Sleep, but far superior to the dreadful Second Life.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    I wanted to love this and was so excited about a new novel by Watson but I wasn’t bowled over by this novel. It felt very formulaic and predictable from the get go and it felt like an over told idea. Watson still writes well and builds up tension perfectly but it just wasn’t very exciting or unique for me. Sorry!

  14. 5 out of 5

    Michael

    I really enjoyed Before I Go To Sleep but this one was very boring. I also really hatd the writing style, it was very dense and unappealing,it read like a crime scene report. Some things need to just be left for imagination, I felt that some contents were just unecessary to the point of the story. What was the point of this book? It never had a defined plot to me, it was a bunch of useless characters that took up the space with no characterization or direction. I did not last long reading this,it I really enjoyed Before I Go To Sleep but this one was very boring. I also really hatd the writing style, it was very dense and unappealing,it read like a crime scene report. Some things need to just be left for imagination, I felt that some contents were just unecessary to the point of the story. What was the point of this book? It never had a defined plot to me, it was a bunch of useless characters that took up the space with no characterization or direction. I did not last long reading this,it was too forgettable to me. Better Luck Next Time

  15. 5 out of 5

    Erin

    I really need to stop putting high expectations on every book an author writes. The fact is, I ADORED and DEVOURED every single sentence of Before I go to Sleep and I guess I thought I would carry that feeling forward through to the author 's third novel. Alas, I began this one on Christmas Eve and then didn't pick it up until last night (the 26th). I liked it and a lot of the actions of the main protagonist, Alex, really did make sense given how the story turns out. Goodreads review published I really need to stop putting high expectations on every book an author writes. The fact is, I ADORED and DEVOURED every single sentence of Before I go to Sleep and I guess I thought I would carry that feeling forward through to the author 's third novel. Alas, I began this one on Christmas Eve and then didn't pick it up until last night (the 26th). I liked it and a lot of the actions of the main protagonist, Alex, really did make sense given how the story turns out. Goodreads review published 27/12/20

  16. 4 out of 5

    Shalini

    The book started fine with a documentary shooting, an amnesic main characters and suspense in the village. then it started to lose its steam and meandered through the midway, and I began to lose interest in it too. I skim read parts of it to get to the end. An okay read

  17. 5 out of 5

    Danielle

    What sounded like an interesting plot quickly turned out to be unrealistic and filled with obvious attempts at fooling the reader. Lots of different characters, flipping between "then" and "now", characters hiding in shadows and slinking around in the darkness, characters advising Alex not to trust others... it was all just like a poor thriller movie for me. I guessed the major twist fairly early on and found the rest of the book to be frustratingly over-complicated and not particularly well wri What sounded like an interesting plot quickly turned out to be unrealistic and filled with obvious attempts at fooling the reader. Lots of different characters, flipping between "then" and "now", characters hiding in shadows and slinking around in the darkness, characters advising Alex not to trust others... it was all just like a poor thriller movie for me. I guessed the major twist fairly early on and found the rest of the book to be frustratingly over-complicated and not particularly well written. I didn't find it at all believable that a stranger could go to a small village, start filming the locals and asking questions like she asks and the locals not be upset, offended or annoyed! Alex's character had no right to ask the questions she was asking, to visit the people she visited but she was practically welcomed in and given all the information she was asking for. This didn't feel remotely believable to me and I was increasingly annoyed by it. Final Cut was not a book I enjoyed unfortunately. I was intrigued as to how it would finish but really just wanted it to be over. The ending felt like the author was trying for a movie-worthy ending but for me it was just over the top. Thank you to NetGalley, S. J. Watson and Random House UK for the eARC in exchange for an honest review.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Donna

    2.5 stars. Turns out this was not the right book for me even though the synopsis sounded like one I would enjoy. I thought it was too long with way too much dialogue. I struggled to finish it.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Marie Sembar

    2.5 stars. Minimal potential spoilers ... there's so much repetitive text. The residents of this small town have a similar verb misuse, which is fine, but there's no consistency (sometimes using the verb right or wrong) and at the end of the book a lengthy conversation occurs with no missusage of the verb whereas that character had been clearly established as having lived in this town having the error earlier. The motive of the main character to film in this town feels like an after thought as e 2.5 stars. Minimal potential spoilers ... there's so much repetitive text. The residents of this small town have a similar verb misuse, which is fine, but there's no consistency (sometimes using the verb right or wrong) and at the end of the book a lengthy conversation occurs with no missusage of the verb whereas that character had been clearly established as having lived in this town having the error earlier. The motive of the main character to film in this town feels like an after thought as either at the beginning or end of the chapter she hits record and that's it, she reviews footage sure, but makes more assumptions than is detailed to exist in the footage. The dual timeline works initially, but also seems like an afterthought. At the end nearly 100 pages pass with no "THEN" chapter except a single page report from the school but it's not from the characters previously in the THEN chapters and our MC didn't seek out this report, so what's the point. The "THEN" chapters are tiny bits not from the same characters, most seemed to contribute nothing to either story being followed. The main character has suffered amnesia, but suspects something terrible and has had plastic surgery and many image changes, prior to the storyline, but how did she get the money and if she managed to obtain that kind of money why was she so desperate for money that she'd film in the town she was running from. None of this is clearly established. I felt nothing for any of the characters. I did expect to feel something for the main character but she's not presented in a likeable way and the other characters don't seem to care much for who she may have been. The setting could've been great, but there's minimal details, the author spent an inordinate amount of writing detailing inner thoughts by the MC. I would've DNF'd, but I did want to know what the mystery was. The conclusion was underwhelming.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Etienne

    2,5/5. An entertaining when you don’t think about it too much. The first 2/3 of it was good enough, we want to go what happen, the pace is good, we turn the page and enjoy doing so. But when you close the book, get out of the ambiance, and start thinking about it, you see the unrealistic element that seem to be everywhere. Why everybody is so happy to talk about their dark history to a newcomer wanna-be filmmaker? Why does relation and intimacy go so fast? Why do the event just fit perfectly tog 2,5/5. An entertaining when you don’t think about it too much. The first 2/3 of it was good enough, we want to go what happen, the pace is good, we turn the page and enjoy doing so. But when you close the book, get out of the ambiance, and start thinking about it, you see the unrealistic element that seem to be everywhere. Why everybody is so happy to talk about their dark history to a newcomer wanna-be filmmaker? Why does relation and intimacy go so fast? Why do the event just fit perfectly together everywhere? The narrative is a bit force from time to time and we saw it easily but still when you are reading it you enjoy doing so. The last third is less fun. The forced elements are just too many and too much forced, so we go from unrealistic to just nonsense. The end was a big deception and I saw I coming from very far. So overall the book is a bit of a remake of many plots seen in the last years, lack originality and even the execution is just average. And it’s even worse since I was expecting this book a lot, waiting for it and with this author, well I had way higher expectations. If you don’t read much thriller you might enjoy it still, but if you have read a good bunch, the similarity, the tropes and the lines and glue trying to keep it together will just be too evident to just let them pass.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Ruth Parker

    This is not the way I wanted my 2021 book reviews to begin. I am devastated. I thought picking up a book by a known to me author, who I have really enjoyed previously, was a safe bet. But noooooo. This book was dull. I got about 60% through and felt like things were being repeated over and over and over again. The book was dialogue heavy. And I felt like the explanations were flimsy and fairly unbelievable. And the final chapter is basically a villain monologue which I hate. But I loved the premi This is not the way I wanted my 2021 book reviews to begin. I am devastated. I thought picking up a book by a known to me author, who I have really enjoyed previously, was a safe bet. But noooooo. This book was dull. I got about 60% through and felt like things were being repeated over and over and over again. The book was dialogue heavy. And I felt like the explanations were flimsy and fairly unbelievable. And the final chapter is basically a villain monologue which I hate. But I loved the premise, the whole idea is interesting and I want to read more books set in Yorkshire, more thrillers about missing people and more books about film making. It just didn’t do it for me.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Mogsy (MMOGC)

    3.5 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum https://bibliosanctum.com/2020/08/25/... S.J. Watson’s debut Before I Go to Sleep was a book I read early in my blogging days, and as I recall, I was quite taken with its rather unusual handling of the good old amnesia plot. Thus I was quite intrigued when I found out about his new book Final Cut, another psychologically-driven suspense mystery dealing with memory loss. Alex Young is the protagonist of this novel, who over the years has made quite a name for her 3.5 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum https://bibliosanctum.com/2020/08/25/... S.J. Watson’s debut Before I Go to Sleep was a book I read early in my blogging days, and as I recall, I was quite taken with its rather unusual handling of the good old amnesia plot. Thus I was quite intrigued when I found out about his new book Final Cut, another psychologically-driven suspense mystery dealing with memory loss. Alex Young is the protagonist of this novel, who over the years has made quite a name for herself as an award-winning documentary filmmaker specializing in covering hard-hitting social issues. To keep at the top of her game though, she’ll need a new angle, and in spite of herself, she knows there’s a good story in the small dreary village of Blackwood Bay tucked away along the northern English coast. A town with a notorious history of smuggling, it’s also where teenage girls have a disturbing tendency to disappear without a trace. The last decade alone saw multiple reports of missing victims, and while some say they ran away, at least one is believed to be dead, having committed suicide by hurling herself off the cliffs. But while there’s no doubt Blackwood Bay is a haunted place, that doesn’t fully explain the feelings of dread that come over Alex when she arrives in town. For she herself has a dark past that she doesn’t like to talk about, that she can’t even remember. Something terrible happened to her when she was a girl, something which led her to develop dissociative amnesia. However, lately the memories have begun slowly trickling back, and being in the strangely familiar environment of Blackwood Bay has somehow made them worse and more confusing. As Alex begins her investigation by conducting interviews and collecting stories about the missing girls, she begins to develop a sinking suspicion that she might have been one of them, and that maybe she had run away from this place to escape something terrible. I’ll give the novel this—it had an intriguing premise. But as you can probably tell from my rating, I wasn’t completely blown away. Books like this are starting to make me wonder if thrillers and mysteries about amnesia and memory loss are even worth picking up anymore, because they always end up reusing the same formulaic plot lines and devices, not to mention the heavy dependence on the unreliable narrator trope. I had thought Final Cut might be different because of the interesting perspectives presented to us in Before I Go to Sleep, but in this case I might have let my expectations get the better of me. Still, that’s not to say this was a bad book. I thought it had a good solid plot, even if everything was fairly predictable. Watson does a great job building suspense, though, by creating a soul-draining kind of bleakness around the setting, and one method by which he achieved this was through painting a downright unpleasant history for Blackwood Bay. Some places are said to have bad karma, and surely this seaside village is a good example. The crimes and abuses revealed to have taken place here were just plain awful, and over the years these evils appear to have poisoned the entire town including its residents, who all seem to go about their miserable lives with a demoralized, resigned air. That said, in spite of the abundance of atmosphere, the story does start losing its steam after a while. Keep in mind that while Alex is busy figuring out her past, readers are also seeing the world through her eyes and putting all the pieces together, getting ever closer to figuring out the final twist. Eventually, I think the author realized it was getting a little too obvious and decided to send the protagonist off running in circles or chasing dead-end leads, all in a thinly-veiled attempt to stall for time and throw us off the scent. Personally, I didn’t think it worked out too well. The result is a moody mystery that reads more like a drama than true suspense, much less a psychological thriller, and yes, in some ways this was disappointing because I had expected the latter. Nevertheless, I wouldn’t write off the novel completely, especially if you find the premise interesting. Although I found the thriller aspect and final twist to be a bust, if you enjoy mystery noir stories with their hopelessly flawed and troubled protagonists and gloomy atmospheric settings, you will probably find a lot to like in Final Cut. Audiobook Comments: Multiple narrators made this audiobook a fuller experience, and they all delivered great performances, bringing the various people in the story to life. Alex’s parts were particularly well done, with the reader’s voice giving emotional weight to the character’s quest to investigate the disappearances in Blackwood Bay and solve the mystery of her past.

  23. 5 out of 5

    ABookwormWithWine

    Final Cut by S.J. Watson is a slow burn mystery that is heavy on the atmosphere which I really enjoyed. Alex was a bit of an unreliable narrator since she couldn't remember her past, but I loved the direction the book took, and I was completely shocked by the ending. This book was twisty and disturbing, and it made my heart hurt a little once I learned what was going on. Blackwood Bay was a great setting, and I really liked Watson's writing style because I felt like I was right there. The whole Final Cut by S.J. Watson is a slow burn mystery that is heavy on the atmosphere which I really enjoyed. Alex was a bit of an unreliable narrator since she couldn't remember her past, but I loved the direction the book took, and I was completely shocked by the ending. This book was twisty and disturbing, and it made my heart hurt a little once I learned what was going on. Blackwood Bay was a great setting, and I really liked Watson's writing style because I felt like I was right there. The whole book definitely has a bit of an ominous feel, and that coupled with the unraveling mystery as well as snippets from Alex's past coming back made it an interesting ride. I really liked the different parts to the book and how it switches back and forth between past and present. That is a technique I always love in a novel, and I think it really helped build the suspense in Final Cut. I think it is important to keep in mind that this is a really detailed, slow burn so it's definitely not going to be for everyone. I decided to listen to the audiobook, and I think that really helped move things along for me. There is a large cast for this one: Billie Fulford Brown, Mary Jane Wells, Zehra Jane Naqvi, Matthew Waterson & Will M. Watt, and I loved having so many people narrating. This has definitely got me intrigued to read more of his books which I hope to do very soon! Thank you to the publisher for providing me with an advance review copy of this book, all opinions and thoughts are my own.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Shawna Alpdemir

    I'm not a big fan of first person narratives or thrillers, so this book wasn't the typical read for me. I was pleasantly surprised by the pace and the writing. It was dark, but not too dark - mysterious, but not misdirected. You feel like you have an idea where the plot is headed the whole time, but not exactly how it all fits together. Some books end too quickly after coming to a conclusion, but I felt like the ending wrapped everything up nicely. I enjoyed the experience and think I should ope I'm not a big fan of first person narratives or thrillers, so this book wasn't the typical read for me. I was pleasantly surprised by the pace and the writing. It was dark, but not too dark - mysterious, but not misdirected. You feel like you have an idea where the plot is headed the whole time, but not exactly how it all fits together. Some books end too quickly after coming to a conclusion, but I felt like the ending wrapped everything up nicely. I enjoyed the experience and think I should open myself up to this genre a bit more. :)

  25. 4 out of 5

    Nancy

    Read most of it ... gave up ..... disappointed!

  26. 4 out of 5

    Ailsa

    People are calling this a slow burn but I think it’s a slow fizzle out. Super dull and the ending isn’t worth it.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Emilie

    Blackwood Bay is a ghost town hunted by its past. In the last ten years, a girl committed suicide and two others fled and disappeared. What brought those girl to he edge? What pushed them to run away? That’s what Alex, a film maker, is trying to find out. Damn, that was good. I was hooked from the very first chapter. The mystery was so intense and played out well in my opinion. I don’t want to talk about the story because I think you need to go into any thriller blind, but I can tell you it was Blackwood Bay is a ghost town hunted by its past. In the last ten years, a girl committed suicide and two others fled and disappeared. What brought those girl to he edge? What pushed them to run away? That’s what Alex, a film maker, is trying to find out. Damn, that was good. I was hooked from the very first chapter. The mystery was so intense and played out well in my opinion. I don’t want to talk about the story because I think you need to go into any thriller blind, but I can tell you it was perfectly well paced out. I did not give it a full five stars because I thought that sometimes the characters where not well referenced to (like, I got confused about who we were talking about for the majority of the first half). It got better, but still prevented me from giving it a perfect score. I am definitely eager to discover more from S. J. Watson now.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Jeanne Adamek

    Dnf, I was really not enjoying this

  29. 4 out of 5

    Danni The Girl

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Thank you to Netgally for the ARC I was giving this author a second chance. Loved Before I go to sleep, I didn't like Second life and I just didn't like this one either. I felt excited when I started reading and realised that some of this is based in my home town, but that was about it. There was so much that annoyed me about this book. I thought on reading it, that the build up of all this drug stuff was maybe to deter the reader from the truth, but no. It was all a big build up to then confirm Thank you to Netgally for the ARC I was giving this author a second chance. Loved Before I go to sleep, I didn't like Second life and I just didn't like this one either. I felt excited when I started reading and realised that some of this is based in my home town, but that was about it. There was so much that annoyed me about this book. I thought on reading it, that the build up of all this drug stuff was maybe to deter the reader from the truth, but no. It was all a big build up to then confirm it was all to do with drugs. Boring. It has been done. I didn't click with the characters, and I just felt this was an alternative spin on other stories. It is just over done and didn't bring out anything new. Also with the build up, there was a lot of "mystery" it was the main character constantly asking questions, and people answering her with more questions. This in turn became very boring and very confusing. I don't think a single question got answered in this book. I did enjoy the description of the landscapes, it did create a nice imagery, but that was all I liked. I think I am going to have to say goodbye to this author.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Mary Picken

    Alex is a documentary film-maker, whose first film garnered her some excellent praise, but she’s struggled to find a new idea that inspires her and the commissions are not rolling in. An idea she has pitched to a production company has merit and they’re keen for her to proceed with it, but they want it attached to a place with a story to give the film a real hook. So Alex arrives in Blackwood Bay, a place that she never wanted to be. Once a pretty enough place with a bit of a tourism industry, no Alex is a documentary film-maker, whose first film garnered her some excellent praise, but she’s struggled to find a new idea that inspires her and the commissions are not rolling in. An idea she has pitched to a production company has merit and they’re keen for her to proceed with it, but they want it attached to a place with a story to give the film a real hook. So Alex arrives in Blackwood Bay, a place that she never wanted to be. Once a pretty enough place with a bit of a tourism industry, now it is run down and somewhat neglected and the atmosphere is one of distrust, especially to newcomers. That’s not surprising, since the media have crawled all over it after three young girls disappeared 10 years ago. Alex is our narrator and we quickly learn that her documentary style is to seek film and video from users wherever she is filming and she uses that to stitch together a portrait of the place she is portraying. S. J. Watson does an excellent job of building a picture of the town and its key characters and creating an atmospheric, oppressive feeling that lingers as Alex – herself struggling with being in Blackwood and showing signs of not being an entirely reliable narrator – tries to get to the bottom of who or what caused these young women to disappear. There are those who don’t want her raking up the past, understandably, and Alex is a bit quick to judge based on rumour and hearsay. What becomes clear though is that there is still a malevolent force in this town and that whoever is behind it is not taking well to Alex digging into the past. S.J. Watson does write a fabulously dark and well plotted story and on the whole I enjoyed reading this and found the many twisted moments entertaining as the plot unfurled. But if you read a lot of psychological thrillers, this plot will not stun you, and it won’t come as a complete surprise when you find out what really been going on. Final Cut has a solid pace for most of the book then ramps up towards the end as the town’s secrets start to spill out at an unstoppable rate and the tension jumps several notches for the dramatic conclusion of this psychological thriller. Verdict: Verdict: A solid and enjoyable read with a nicely claustrophobic, oppressive atmosphere and some creepy characters but which at times felt a little too guessable – but then I read an awful lot of psychological thrillers.

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