Final Cut by S.J. Watson #BookReview #BlogTour


The phenomenal new thriller from the multi-million-copy bestselling author of Before I Go To Sleep.

Blackwood Bay. An ordinary place, home to ordinary people.

It used to be a buzzing seaside destination. But now, ravaged by the effects of dwindling tourism and economic downturn, it's a ghost town - and the perfect place for film-maker Alex to shoot her new documentary.

But the community is deeply suspicious of her intentions. After all, nothing exciting ever happens in Blackwood Bay - or does it?

Blackwood Bay. An ordinary place, home to an extraordinary secret.

It's my pleasure to be hosting the blog tour for Final Cut today. Many thanks to S.J. Watson, Doubleday and Anne Cater from Random Things Tours for inviting me and for my advance digital copy of the novel.

Alex is a young film-maker whose first documentary became a resounding success but her second less so. She is determined to reignite her career but is struggling for ideas until a mysterious postcard lures her to a small northern seaside town, Blackwood Bay. It very quickly becomes apparent that her first film about young girls living on the street was driven by her own experiences and it's soon obvious that this isn't her first time in Blackwood Bay. Final Cut is a chillingly unnerving novel where the atmospheric sense of place lends itself perfectly to a story that is as dark and twisty as its setting. The narrative shifts between current events and key moments from Alex's past, often taking the form of medical notes and diary entries which go some way to documenting her confused and evidently very troubled past.
As her memories of her former life in Blackwood Bay begin to filter through, the story becomes as fragmented as her thoughts and it's increasingly clear that this is a town hiding terrible secrets. The suicide of one young girl almost ten years previously followed by the more recent disappearance of another girl seem to just be the tip of the iceberg and although Alex is ostensibly there to tell the story of the town, she is soon embroiled in her endeavours to discover more about the mysterious and disturbing truth behind what is really happening to Blackwood Bay's teenage girls. There aren't any especially graphic scenes but equally there is no doubt as to the extent of the coercion and depravity which has poisoned a town that should instead be associated with happy holiday memories.
With her own memories so confused, Alex is the epitome of an unreliable narrator but she isn't the only character who can't be trusted. A large part of Final Cut's considerable appeal comes from the unsettling sense that absolutely anybody could be involved in whatever is going on and as the novel progresses it becomes horribly obvious that there is a seriously dark underbelly to the place. As part of her film, Alex has invited locals to send her their own clips of life in the town and at a time when all our lives are becoming increasingly documented on social media, it's an important reminder of what can be concealed as well as revealed.
I did manage to figure out an important part of the storyline - I read a lot of psychological thrillers after all - but it didn't impact my enjoyment at all; I still found it an intriguing read and was fascinated to discover how the characters would eventually come to the point where the full truth was finally known. As they move towards the terrible revelations about what really occurred, the tension gradually builds and the eventual denouement is thrillingly dramatic. Final Cut is a cleverly structured, compelling novel that explores the themes of memory and identity to devastating effect. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Final Cut is published by Doubleday, purchasing links can be found here but please consider supporting independent bookstores whenever possible.

Don't miss the rest of the blog tour, details are below.

About the Author

S. J. Watson's first novel, Before I Go To Sleep, became a phenomenal international success and has now sold over 6,000,000 copies worldwide. It won the Crime Writers' Association Award for Best Debut Novel and the Galaxy National Book Award for Crime Thriller of the Year. The film of the book, starring Nicole Kidman, Colin Firth and Mark Strong, and directed by Rowan Joffe, was released in September 2014. S. J. Watson's second novel, Second Life, a psychological thriller, was published to acclaim in 2015. S. J. Watson lives in London.


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