The Siren by Katherine St. John

Billed as an “escapist thriller”, The Siren is set on the Carribean island of St. Genesius, where films star Cole Power is starring in a film opposite his ex-wife, Stella. Joining them is Taylor, the producer hoping to resurrect her career and Stella’s mysterious assistant, Felicity, who has a secret link to some of the stars. As a huge storm brews off the coast, lives, secrets and untruths will all come unraveled.

Katherine St. John also wrote The Lion’s Den, which was well received.

St John has some experience in the film industry that she writes about in this book, as well as some other interesting jobs that’s she has held over the years. I think that is a really great aspect of this book, that is has this sense of feeling real or at least accurate. The book also takes on some of the more toxic aspects of the industry, like sexism and the Me Too movement that are the other side of all the glamour.

The book is structured with the chapters alternating between Taylor, Felicity and Stella, which was really nicely handled. We learn more about Felicity’s past, the others are more generally set in the present. There’s a secret about Felicity and she’s here to find out something that happened, but we don’t know what right away. I found Stella’s chapters a little dull compared to those of Taylor and Felicity, but I really thought she was a good character, an aging actress with a past. One who has been painted as crazy and drug addled, but we learn more about her inner story. There are also some press articles scattered throughout the book that are used well to sometimes misdirect a little or give little hints. That was fun. I liked the way that they sometimes showed one interpretation of events, but that later we’d learn the truth, and it would be quite different. It also helps give the book an intriguing, gossipy tone, which was fun.

I liked that I felt like I could see aspects of movie stars in the different characters sometimes. I don’t think any one person is represented, but it’s more that it feels familiar, like, oh, that’s like Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, that’s a bit like Roman Polansky,… This book is definitely not like Hollywood Wives, where you read it to see what gossip is being spread about not so fictional characters. It’s not trashy, it’s not tell all, it’s more like a mystery really, a thriller, but with a fun location and the realism of the film set setting adds something. I think that’s good fun.

It’s not an edge of your seat type thriller, at least not til the end, as things intensify. It’s more a beach read thriller. A little slower and more about the mystery and character development, getting to know everyone. A nice one to read in the sun on a lounger with a cocktail or take on holiday with you.

Read It If: I love a book set on a movie or Hollywood location. It’s fun. This one feels well realised, but also with some thrills and secrets. The three leads are all likable and intriguing.

Thank you HBG Canada for the Advance Copy of this book for review. The Siren is out now.

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