Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for The East End!
Thank you to Harlequin for inviting me on the blog tour!
Special thanks to Jason Allen, Harlequin/Park Row, and NetGalley for the privilege of previewing this book in exchange for an honest review.
Publish Date: May 7, 2019
Hamptons men in the summer are “like the preppiest preppy-ass street gang of all time.” — The East End
Corey Halpern, a local high schooler with a troubled home life, is desperate to leave the Hamptons and start anew somewhere else. His last summer before college, he settles for the escapism he finds in sneaking into neighboring mansions.
One night just before Memorial Day weekend, he breaks in to the wrong home at the wrong time: the Sheffield estate, where he and his mother, Gina, work. Under the cover of darkness, Leo Sheffield—a billionaire CEO, patriarch and the owner of the vast lakeside manor—arrives unexpectedly with a companion. After a shocking poolside accident, everything depends on Leo burying the truth before his family and friends arrive for the holiday weekend. Unfortunately for him, Corey saw what happened, as did other eyes in the shadows.
Secrecy, obsession and desperation dictate each character’s path in this spectacular debut. In a race against time, each critical moment holds life in the balance as Corey, Gina and Leo approach a common breaking point.
This story starts off with a bang and sucked me right in. Corey Halpern breaks into houses not to steal things; he does it for kicks and giggles and to prank people. I could not believe some of the antics that he pulled while breaking and entering. The beginning reminds me of another book called The Burglar by Thomas Perry, but Corey’s really more of an intruder than a burglar, and he’s way more ballsy.
As the ancient Roman saying goes, “It’s all fun and games until someone loses an eye” – or when the boy toy of a married billionaire accidentally ODs and keels over at the billionaire’s ritzy Hamptons estate. Such is the case of Leo Sheffield. Leo’s in a definite jam and ooops, 2 people saw it all go down…. and one of them is Corey.
Corey is no saint, but he’s definitely on higher moral ground than Leo. He’s a likeable character and I rooted for him. He’s smart, resourceful, he has dreams, goals, and wants a better life. He sees an opportunity, and he goes for it.
This book is about people making bad choices and other people watching them. It has a wide cast of characters that I loved to loathe. I’ve read many books that take place in the glitzy Hamptons, but this one that stands out. It has tragedy and mystery, but there is a comedic aspect that made me laugh many times.
The story also highlights a situation that is very dominant in the Hamptons: struggles of the working class and the polar opposite world of the super wealthy. It delves into socio-economic disparity – townie vs. vacationer, white collar vs. blue collar, “upstairs” vs. “downstairs” – and what divides the two groups.
Another unique thing about this book is the writing style. It has less dialogue than I’m used to, and many long parts of narrative. But even with the lack of dialogue, the plot is so binge-worthy that I couldn’t stop reading. The ending was a surprise and tied everything together.
Here are my favorite quotes:
“No one will know.”
“Instantly, simultaneously, this qualified as both the most amazing moment of any of the break-ins, and by far, the biggest, most unexpected secret he’d ever stumbled upon.”
“Only for a few minutes, he could pretend to live where they lived, imagine being someone who had so much more than the minimum.”
“Life on the Island, especially when you were out on one of the forks, meant that you always had only two paths to choose from. East or west.”
“…the Sheffield men leaning against one of the limousines like the preppiest preppy-ass street gang of all time.”
This book is about scandal, desperation, secrets, love, family, addiction, tragedy, class, greed, and voyeurism. The story is a slow burning mystery, but has underlying themes of class, social structure, and discrimination wrapped up in family drama. It will make you appreciate your own family.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
*** Other great books that take place in the Hamptons: ***
The Better Sister by Alafair Burke
A Stranger on the Beach by Michele Campbell
It Happens in the Hamptons by Holly Peterson
Jason Allen is also doing a book tour on the east coast to the cities listed below.
Thanks for stopping by!