Review: Shutter by Melissa Larsen

ShutterShutter by Melissa Larsen
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Following the death of her beloved Father, Betty Roux needs an escape. She packs her bags, severs her ties and flies to New York City, with dreams of becoming an actress.

Once there, she phones up her old friend, Sofia, who she knows has found some level of success behind-the-scenes in the film business.

Sofia and her live-in boyfriend, Ben, are more than happy to take Betty under their wing and she begins to stay at their place; walking dogs to make ends meet.

Before too long, they offer to introduce her to the mysterious filmmaker, Anthony Marino, a man they have worked with in the past and have a friendly relationship with. THE Anthony Marino.

Upon meeting Betty, it seems Anthony has discovered his new muse. He offers her the starring role in his next project.

She’s flattered, but also a little uncertain. She didn’t even audition and has no experience, what does he see in her?

Who is she to argue with genius though? He clearly knows what he is doing, so Betty agrees to step outside her comfort zone and take on the role.

The project is the be filmed at the Marino family property on a private island off the coast of Maine. From the very start, Betty is unclear about the specifics of the whole thing.

Anthony tells her it will be loosely-based upon the classic film, Cape Fear. It’s to be filmed more like a lightly-scripted reality television show versus a traditional film.

The bare bones crew, which includes Ben, Sofia and the man who is to play Betty’s on-screen boyfriend, Mads, travel to Maine with the hopes of capturing all the footage they need within a month.

Prior to filming, Anthony assigns Betty a new identity. She is now to go only by the name, Lola; he is hoping that will allow her to let down her defenses and evolve into the character he is looking for.

Events on the island spiral quickly and Betty begins to wonder what exactly she has gotten herself into. She should have listened to her Mother.

Y’all, I would have thrown this across the room when I was finished with it, but it’s on my Kindle soooo…..

Betty was one of those characters that I quickly grew frustrated with and there was never even a glimmer of hope of her redeeming herself.

In and of itself, that’s fine. I don’t need to like the characters in the books I read. In fact, I frequently enjoy books where the entire cast is unlikable. It all depends what those unlikable people are doing.

It needs to keep me engaged. It needs to be sinister, it needs to be wicked, wild, intriguing; give me something!

This felt so bland to me; top to bottom. The narrative style did not suit my taste at all, there was no sense of place, no atmosphere. I couldn’t have cared one way or another about Anthony Marino, or his petty film project.

At the end of the day, while the synopsis sounded intriguing, the execution fell well below my expectations.

As I always say, however, there is a Reader for every book and a book for every Reader. Just because this didn’t work for me, does not mean it won’t work for you. If you think it sounds intriguing, give it a go!

Thank you so much to the publisher, Berkley, for providing me with a copy of this to read and review. I appreciate the opportunity to vent provide my opinion.

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