BOOK REVIEW: Saint X by Alexis Schaitkin

Publication Date: February 18, 2020
Format: Paperback
Genre:  Disaster Fiction 

Publisher: Celadon
333 pages
Buy:  Kindle Paperback 


Claire is only seven years old when her college-age sister, Alison, disappears on the last night of their family vacation at a resort on the Caribbean island of Saint X. Several days later, Alison’s body is found in a remote spot on a nearby cay, and two local menemployees at the resortare arrested. But the evidence is slim, the timeline against it, and the men are soon released. The story turns into national tabloid news, a lurid mystery that will go unsolved. For Claire and her parents, there is only the return home to broken lives.

Years later, Claire is living and working in New York City when a brief but fateful encounter brings her together with Clive Richardson, one of the men originally suspected of murdering her sister. It is a moment that sets Claire on an obsessive pursuit of the truth
not only to find out what happened the night of Alison’s death but also to answer the elusive question: Who exactly was her sister? At seven, Claire had been barely old enough to know her: a beautiful, changeable, provocative girl of eighteen at a turbulent moment of identity formation.

As Claire doggedly shadows Clive, hoping to gain his trust, waiting for the slip that will reveal the truth, an unlikely attachment develops between them, two people whose lives were forever marked by the same tragedy.


This is a hard book to review without giving too much away.  The narrator flips back and forth between the different characters in the book so you learn more about that fateful night through all the different perspectives.  

Claire is devastated when her sisters dies but she is also very young.  As she grows up she starts to wonder if she really knew her sister at all.  What happens when your sibling dies, how do you cope with being the one left behind? 

One day Claire finds herself in a New York cab driven by one of the men accused of killing her sister.  At this point her obsession of what happened to her sister takes off and she starts following him in order to see what answers she can deduce about who he is.  

There are so many aspects to this book.  It is very well written, atmospheric, and really shows the disparity between the native island people and the tourists.  Race and social class play big roles in this story.  

I have many relatives and friends from the islands so I found myself hearing the accents in my head which only enriched the story for me.  This is not a fast paced read but more of an unfolding, of a night that changed so many lives. I really enjoyed it and just learned they are making a Hulu movie or series based on it.   

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