Monday, October 17, 2022

The Pact by Sharon Bolton

 
First Line: When they thought of that summer, it was to remember the bitter taste of the river in their mouths and the spatter of lager froth on hot skin; to recall days that began after noon and ended as the night sky paled in the east.
 
Six talented school friends are enjoying a last, hedonistic summer before entering Oxford University and beginning the next phase of their lives. Drinking, drugs, sleeping away the daylight hours, and a daredevil game occupy their time-- until the game goes horribly wrong and a woman and two children are killed.
 
Six potentially brilliant careers are at stake, and after some debate, eighteen-year-old Megan takes the blame, allowing the others to get on with their lives. In return, they each agree to a "favor" which is payable upon her release from prison.
 
Twenty years later, Megan is free... and payment is due.

~

I have enjoyed every book written by Sharon (S.J.) Bolton that I've read, especially her Lacey Flint series, and I thought it was high time to read another. For a change of pace, I decided to listen to the audiobook version of The Pact, and I'm glad I did. 
 
To be blunt, this book is about a bunch of spoiled brats.  Five of them have been allowed to do whatever they want without fear of consequences. They're oh-so-special, you see. Destined by birth for Great Things, don't you know? Only the sixth member of the group, Megan, has any idea of how the real world works because she's the scholarship girl, not a member of the rich and shameless class. (Gee, you can't tell where my sympathies lie, can you?) Watching this group sweat bullets to weasel their way out of any responsibility is a master class in privilege-- and totally maddening. Earlier, I said that I was glad that I listened to the audiobook version of The Pact, and it's all due to the narrator, Hanako Footman. Footman gives the five spoiled brats the plummy, posh accents that rich, entitled British children would have, and hearing those world-weary, entitled, slightly whiny voices made me want to lock them all in prison cells and throw away the key.

Yes, the only thing that was keeping me engrossed in The Pact was my intense desire to make sure that these five brats got their just desserts. Bolton had me completely invested in the outcome of her book. The only thing that marred that outcome is the fact that I guessed the twist at the end well in advance, but The Pact still kept my interest throughout, and I certainly didn't feel cheated.

Now I think I'll read something with some likable characters...

The Pact by Sharon Bolton
Narrated by Hanako Footman.
ASIN: B08THW81H7
Trapeze © 2021
Audiobook. 12 hours, 10 minutes.
 
Standalone Thriller
Rating: A-
Source: Purchased from Amazon. 

14 comments:

  1. I've only read a couple by Bolton but after The Pact I'm certain I'll read more.

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  2. I think Bolton is a really talented writer; I've enjoyed the work I've read. But I'm with you, Cathy, that these characters sound supremely unlikeable. I can't imagine really wanting to spend any time in their company. Still, I do like Bolton's writing style...

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    1. I amazed myself that I spent so much time in their company! LOL

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  3. I think I would have a little trouble continuing on with the spoiled brats, except, as you say, to make sure they got their just desserts. It's a great plot line though.

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  4. Thanks for your review, it's a great help to find a book which I will not read.
    More time to read books I am going to enjoy!

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    1. Your comment made me laugh, Chris-- in a good way. It can be just as important to find books that we don't want to read as it is to find the ones we do want to read!

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  5. This book is not for me. And I, too, hate posh, pretentious English accents. I keep asking my neighbor, a working-class bloke from Birmingham, how these actors and news commentators from England got these upper class accents. He tells me they go to private schools. I avoid certain podcasts due to this.

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    1. I remember the person who told Denis he had a posh accent-- Denis was quite offended because he doesn't.

      Most of the students at the RADA were expected to completely lose their regional accents and speak in BBC English. Robert Carlyle, a staunch Scot, categorically refused, even though his refusal could've meant losing important acting jobs. Fortunately, he did go on to make a name for himself.

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  6. I love Bolton's Lacey Flint series! And I've enjoyed most of her other standalone books. I haven't read this one. And knowing that the characters are all so spoiled and unlikable makes me wonder if I want to.

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  7. I watched a program on PBS the other night. Everyone had an English or Scottish or Irish accent. I thought I needed a hearing aid or I should have clicked on Captions. I couldn't understand a lot of the dialogue. However, that reflects reality, and I wouldn't want a sanitized version with everyone speaking the same way. Here, I watch interviews with actors who've had to lose their regional accents. That is too bad.

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    1. Everyone speaking exactly the same way is boring and definitely not realistic.

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