Ten by Gretchen McNeil

March 16, 2018     erinthebooknut     Book review

Ten by Gretchen McNeilTen by Gretchen McNeil
Published by Balzer + Bray on September 18th 2012
Pages: 296

Shhhh! Don't spread the word! Three-day weekend. Party at White Rock House on Henry Island. You do not want to miss it.

It was supposed to be the weekend of their lives—an exclusive house party on Henry Island. Best friends Meg and Minnie each have their reasons for being there (which involve T.J., the school’s most eligible bachelor) and look forward to three glorious days of boys, booze and fun-filled luxury.

But what they expect is definitely not what they get, and what starts out as fun turns dark and twisted after the discovery of a DVD with a sinister message: Vengeance is mine.

Suddenly people are dying, and with a storm raging, the teens are cut off from the outside world. No electricity, no phones, no internet, and a ferry that isn’t scheduled to return for two days. As the deaths become more violent and the teens turn on each other, can Meg find the killer before more people die? Or is the killer closer to her than she could ever imagine?

4 Nuts


This book is easily comped as a modern day AND THEN THERE WERE NONE. I really cannot dispute that description. When reading the book it’s the first think you think of. Island party, a list of guest with something to hide, suddenly they all start dying? Yep. But the book is different enough to not be a complete rehash. For the most part.

The biggest difference between the two novels is actually the part I care least about, and it’s also the part that I find to be the weakest. That being the romances. There are three; the MC and Hottie McJock, the best friend and Settle VonSecondChoice, and best friend’s ex with New Miss GirlfriendFace. Unfortunately a lot of these characters are huge cliches. Best friend likes jock boy, jock boy likes MC, best friend settles on two guys who are pretty much just there to occupy her until the guy she feels entitled to notices her. Blah blah. It’s all pretty well overdone and mundane.


Thankfully this is an otherwise well plotted novel.

The best friend’s mental illness (and the antagonists use of it as part of their plan) gives a fairly fresh twist to the otherwise standard AND THEN THERE WERE NONE comparisons. Though I’ll admit I can see some with mental illnesses not appreciating the portrayal, I personally as someone with MI did not mind it and thought it worked well with the story. Sensitivity notwithstanding.

The story plays out pretty much like the Christie novel from here. Riddles, mindfuckery, and murder abound. The murders are pretty brilliant, encapsulating the kind of crime the victim was said have committed. Where in AN THEN THERE WERE NONE the order was determined by severity of crime, this book seems to have created the victim order by the time in which each “crime” was committed. Though this book’s impact is a little more THIRTEEN REASONS WHY in its motives than I would care for usually, I did like how it all plays out.

TEN deserves a round of applause for fooling me on who the killer was. I thought I have a pretty good idea but if I had been paying attention to the AND THEN THERE WERE NONE-ness of the plot I would have probably realized I had it wrong. Still  don’t think I would have guessed who the killer was, just like I didn’t with the Christie novel. That is, of course, the point of that particular kind of plot set up. I’ll happily admit it got me.

Though TEN definitely has some problems, the reading experience was so enjoyable that many of the issues can be overlooked. For me at least. Others may have a harder time accepting one or more of the things I’ve mentioned. Still for me, the experience of the book usually trumps a lot. I stayed up til 2.30 in the morning finishing this baby. I found it really difficult to put down. That’s really what I like in my mysteries, a ridiculously compelling story despite the issues it may or may not possess. This book gives me that.

I docked one star for the cliche romances and MI rep but I still think the book is a solid 4 star read. Not too shabby.

What’s your favorite mystery? Share in the comments.

From my shelf to yours,


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