Book Review / Reviews with Spoilers / Sara Ochs

Sara Ochs | The Resort

The Book: 

The Resort by Sara Ochs
Published February 6, 2024 by Sourcebooks Landmark
Date read: February 8, 2024

The Characters: 

Cassie
Brooke
The other residents of Koh Sang: Logan, Greta, Doug, Neil

Rating: 3 out of 5.

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The Plot (from Goodreads):

A searing vacation thriller set on a remote island in Thailand following two mysterious women, a charismatic group of expats, and the one murder poised to bring their paradise crashing down.

Welcome to paradise. We hope you survive your stay…

There are three rules to follow during a vacation at the famous Koh Sang Resort

1 – Leave the past behind.

When Cass sets foot on the coast of Thailand’s world-famous party island, she’s searching for an escape. With dark secrets following her every move, Koh Sang becomes the perfect place to hide.

2 – Always be careful of who you trust.

Now, years later, Cass is a local dive instructor alongside the Permanents, a group of expats who have claimed the island as their own. The Permanents don’t linger on who they were before the island. Simply because, like Cass, they all have something to outrun.

3 – If someone discovers who you really are, run.

But suddenly, a dive student is found dead and paradise comes crashing down. Because this isn’t the first mysterious death on the island, and it won’t be the last. Someone knows who Cass is and they’re ready to make sure justice is finally served.

How did The Resort end?

Click here for book spoilers for The Resort
Book spoilers ahead–if you haven’t yet read The Resort, I suggest you turn back now.

The Reveal:

Lucy, the dive student, was found dead in the water by Cassie’s dive class. Cassie found Logan’s ring in the sand next to the body.

The red herring was that Cassie was taking Xanax and drinking and having memory problems, and Logan tried to gaslight her into thinking she had killed Lucy. He found the Xanax and his ring and swapped it for hers, which Cassie had put in its ring box before teaching her class. Does Logan have dainty lady fingers, or does Cassie have man hands? My fiance and I have VERY different ring sizes.

Cassie’s big secret was that she was “Megan the Murderer” in her past life. It takes a while to find out what she actually did, but eventually, the reader learns that Cassie accidentally killed her sister and then killed her father in self-defense. Her father was having some kind of medical problem that put him into rages where he’d abuse Robin (Cassie’s little sister). He refused to get help, so Cassie determined that Xanax would calm him down. She got a prescription for herself and stockpiled it, planning to dose her father secretly. Huge plot holes here obviously, but the first time she tried her sister drank the Xanax-laced champagne instead. Robin had a heart condition and died instantly. Their father flew into a rage and stabbed Cassie, and Cassie pulled out the knife and killed him. Somehow Cassie wasn’t charged with her sister’s manslaughter. Yes, I have as many questions as you do.

Brooke had a vendetta against Cass. In college, Brooke was raped by Cass’s roommate. Cass knew what was happening (or at least that Eric considered Brooke just “number 26” in his contest with friends to see how many girls they could sleep with) and did nothing to help or stop Brooke. Cass didn’t even remember the brief interaction.

Logan had had an affair with Jacinta, the first person to die on Koh Sang. He pushed her off the cliff to keep her from telling Cassie.

Lucy was Jacinta’s sister, and had come to Thailand with her friend Alani to figure out what happened to Jacinta. The islanders decided to protect their own. Greta drowned her, and Logan, Neil, and Doug hid the body.

Greta had groomed and kidnapped her “girlfriend” Alice. Alice had escaped just before Brooke came to the island. Logan had killed his brother in a drunk driving accident. Doug had sexually assaulted a young girl. They all had things to hide and protected each other. Doug had killed Daniel.

The Ending:

Brooke eventually spoke to Alani and put all of this together, at the same time as Cassie. The islanders were ready to kill them all. Cassie threw herself in front of a bullet meant for Brooke and died. Luckily the police showed up on the island just in time to hear gunshots and rescued Brooke and Alani.

Brooke forgave Neil and they stayed together. He told Brooke that he was always planning on reporting the others, hmm.

In the epilogue from Neil, we find out that Neil was lying to Brooke. Neil had really killed Jacinta. He was a serial killer who just wanted to. He convinced Logan to break into all the hotel rooms, killed Daniel, and charmed Brooke. He threatened Greta to not tell or that he’d go kill Alice.

The Review: 

I picked this book up on Netgalley at the coolest time–just went I was about to head off on a trip to a Thai island! Unfortunately the Netgalley Shelf app doesn’t work in Thailand, so I couldn’t listen to it while I was there, but it was fun to reminisce as soon as I got back. The island we stayed on didn’t have nearly as much murder as Koh Sang (well, that I knew about).

I always love a book that’s set somewhere I know well or have been recently, so the location of the book was perfect. The Resort starts off with a lot of suspense, and I was eager to find out what was really happening with these dead girls.

The author lost me a bit in the middle. I like when characters have a strong backstory, but in this case the backstory detracted from the main plot. She took way too long to get to Cassie’s history, and when she did it made no sense. Same for explaining Brooke’s vendetta against Cassie.

At the end, I was lukewarm on the reveal–until the epilogue. I loved the premise of the epilogue!! It was somewhat out of place though–to my knowledge, there were no hints at the truth throughout the book.

Overall, this thriller was just okay, and I was mostly in it for the location. I won’t count this author out, though. This is her debut, so I feel with a little honing she has a lot of potential.

I love a full-cast narration, but I feel like there was a huge missed opportunity to really make this book shine with all the different accents of this melting-pot island. Not even an attempt at Lucy or Alani’s New Zealand accent, which is an easy one? I was disappointed that no accents were attempted, and thought it made the narration feel somewhat flat.

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