Author: Catherine Ryan Howard
Publisher: Blackstone Publishing
Sometimes you stumble across a piece of media in an unexpected way, and you’re glad you did.
I’m currently at a stage in my life where I almost never watch, read, or play any of the latest releases. I tend to be a year or more behind, and don’t pay nearly as much attention to new releases as I once did, especially when it comes to books. For some reason, though, I happened to click on an article about upcoming thrillers that the author was excited about for 2019, which is how I stumbled upon Catherine Ryan Howard’s Rewind. The idea of a story told non-sequentially had me interested as hell, so I quickly put the book on hold through my local library, and waited for it to come in. It took long enough that I’d forgotten what it was about when I finally borrowed it. After a quick scan through the synopsis again, I was excited to dive in.
Rewind tells its story by moving forward and backwards in time, and though it might feel like a silly gimmick at the start, it works really well for this thriller. The book opens with the murder of an Irish Instagram star, Natalie. We are watching the grisly scene through the lens of a camera that Andrew has planted in one of the rooms of his bed and breakfast cottages. From there, the book moves forward (using the fast forward chapter heading), backwards (using the titular rewind heading), or pauses the reader somewhere in between in order to unravel exactly who these people are, and how their lives are connected.
The book is told through about six different point of views, depending on the chapter. The main three are Natalie, the aforementioned Instagram star, and victim; Andrew, the oddball bed and breakfast manager who hides cameras in his rooms to watch guests during their stay; and Audrey, a journalist who is trying to move up the ranks from the gossip columns, to something with substance. One thing that kept throwing me off while I was reading was the sheer number of characters. I kept having to jump back a few pages to remember who each character was when a new chapter would start. Admittedly, as the story went on, I had to do less of this, but it took me quite a while to really get a grasp of the names. I will say, though, that each character has an interesting story that is worth reading, and the way everything ties together is great.
The main crux of this story is trying to figure out who killed Natalie, and why. Fortunately, Howard throws so much more into this novel, and I was genuinely concerned that she wasn’t going to pay it all off in the end. I thought that there were just too many details that were going to be tossed aside for some crazy reveal. That was definitely not the case, though, and Howard managed to introduce new, interesting twists throughout almost the entire novel, which kept me guessing until the final pages. In the interest of full disclosure, I am not great at picking out plot holes, so if you are, maybe you’ll see something that I didn’t. From my perspective, Howard did a wonderful job of tying everything together into a sensible, surprising, and exciting ending.
I’m not someone who spends too much time with thrillers like Rewind, but I didn’t guess where this book was going, which was exactly what I was hoping for. I’m being purposefully vague discussing the story because this is definitely a book where you will want to know as little as possible going into it to enjoy every twist and turn. Howard’s writing is tight, accessible, and gripping. The last 150 pages flew by, and I didn’t want to put the book down for the night. I loved that feeling! I highly recommend Rewind to anyone with an interest in thrillers. Note that this definitely isn’t a light read, as it touches on some taboo topics, and gets quite brutal at points. If you’re up for that, though, Rewind should be on your radar.
Branden has been a film fan since he was young, roaming the halls of Blockbuster Video, trying to find the grossest, scariest looking VHS covers to rent and watch alone in the basement. It wasn’t until recently, though, that Branden started seeking out the classics of cinema, and began to develop his true passion for the art form. Branden approaches each film with the unique perspective of having studied the art from the inside, having both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in acting. He has been a film critic since 2010, and has previously written for Inside Pulse Movies, We Love Cult, and Diehard Gamefan. His biggest achievement as a film critic, to date, has been founding Cinefessions and turning it from a personal blog to a true film website, housing hundreds of film and television reviews, and dozens of podcasts.