Orion | 2018 (3 May) | 416p | Review copy | Buy the book
One minute TV reality star Morgan Sheppard is enjoying himself in Paris, the next he wakes up in an unfamiliar hotel room in London, handcuffed to a bed. With him in the room are five strangers – three women and two men – all coming to consciousness, not knowing how they came to be there. There’s another person in the hotel room, too. This one is in the bath and he’s dead. The hotel TV sparks to life. A masked figure gives them instructions. Morgan Sheppard is a TV detective, famous because once, years ago as a child, he solved a murder. Everyday on daytime TV Sheppard solves salacious mysteries, mostly concerning cheating partners. But the masked figure has a proper case for him – Sheppard has three hours to find out which of the other five people in the room murdered the man in the bath. If he fails then they will all be killed. The clock by the side of the bed begins to count down.
Guess Who has the most exciting premise – six strangers confined within the claustrophobic setting of a locked room, trapped with a corpse. One of them is a murderer and one must solve the case. It couldn’t get much more classic than that but Chris McGeorge puts such a fun spin on it. And nothing here can be trusted. This is one of those thrillers where you think you know where you’re heading and then BOOM! I love this sort of book and Guess Who did not disappoint.
Obviously, I can’t tell you anything about what happens but I can say that the tension is maintained throughout as the clock ticks down and Sheppard is so completely out of his depth. Things are not looking good. The confinement leads to conflict, not helped by the knowledge that one amongst them is a murderer, and to say there’s friction between these strangers is putting it mildly. Slowly we learn some of the details and I just couldn’t put it down. I loved the way that the thriller moves between the locked room and the outside world, moving back into the past, and revealing secrets.
It is true that you need to suspend your powers of disbelief at times but I was more than happy to do that. I had such a fun time reading Guess Who. It’s hugely entertaining and a very impressive debut to boot.