Review: The Vacation by John Marrs

The Vacation review.

Publisher’s Description

How far would you run to escape your past?

Venice Beach, Los Angeles. A paradise on earth. Tourists flock to the golden coast and the promise of Hollywood. But for eight strangers at a beach-front hostel, there is far more on their minds than an extended vacation. All of them are running from something. And they all have secrets they’d kill to keep…

Thrilling Reads Review

The Vacation,” previously published as “Welcome to Wherever You Are,” is a novel by John Marrs that takes readers on a winding journey through the lives of an eclectic group of characters. Spanning over 500 pages, this ambitious narrative weaves through a complex maze of twists, turns, and flashbacks, making it a challenging yet ultimately rewarding read.

Set against the backdrop of a shabby backpacker’s hostel in Venice Beach, California, the novel’s vivid setting resonates particularly with those who have experienced the unique vibe of Venice Beach and Santa Monica. Marrs excels in creating a rich tapestry of characters, each with their own checkered pasts and intriguing stories. The book adopts a vignette-style approach, focusing on different characters in separate storylines. While some narratives and characters are more engaging than others, the overall journey through their lives is a fascinating one.

Marrs introduces his characters gradually, dedicating several chapters to each before bringing in new ones. This methodical approach helps in managing the large cast, though it still requires some concentration from the reader to keep track of the various storylines. The narrative is structured with chapters alternating between different characters’ perspectives, often delving into their pasts. These flashbacks are generally well signposted, though at times, they delve into unnecessary detail that doesn’t always serve the main storyline.

“The Vacation” may not satisfy those looking for a fast-paced thriller, as its pace is more deliberate, focusing on character development rather than edge-of-your-seat suspense. It’s more of a character study, rich in detail and exploration of personal histories and interactions.

In conclusion, “The Vacation” is a novel for those who enjoy deep dives into characters’ lives and don’t mind a slower pace. Marrs’ skillful storytelling and the vivid setting make it a worthwhile read for those who appreciate a complex, character-driven narrative.

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It's safe to say that Alan Petersen loves mystery and thriller books. He writes high-octane thrillers, hosts the MEET THE THRILLER AUTHOR podcast, and reviews thriller/mystery books.

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