Book Review: Saint X by Alexis Schaitkin
Author: Alexis Schaitkin
Published: February 18, 2020
Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: November 24- December 9, 2020
Jessica’s Rating: 3 stars
Claire is only seven years old when her college-age sister, Alison, disappears on the last night of their family vacation at a resort on the Caribbean island of Saint X. Several days later, Alison’s body is found in a remote spot on a nearby cay, and two local men – employees at the resort – are arrested. But the evidence is slim, the timeline against it, and the men are soon released. The story turns into national tabloid news, a lurid mystery that will go unsolved. For Claire and her parents, there is only the return home to broken lives.
Years later, Claire is living and working in New York City when a brief but fateful encounter brings her together with Clive Richardson, one of the men originally suspected of murdering her sister. It is a moment that sets Claire on an obsessive pursuit of the truth – not only to find out what happened the night of Alison’s death but also to answer the elusive question: Who exactly was her sister? At seven, Claire had been barely old enough to know her: a beautiful, changeable, provocative girl of eighteen at a turbulent moment of identity formation.
As Claire doggedly shadows Clive, hoping to gain his trust, waiting for the slip that will reveal the truth, an unlikely attachment develops between them, two people whose lives were forever marked by the same tragedy.
I am not really sure what to think of this one. It was not really good, but also not really bad, so I put it in the middle and give it three stars. Though taking place before Natalie Holloway’s disappearance in Aruba, it was reminiscent of that story even though we don’t and most likely never will have answers to that case.
Saint X deals with the disappearance/murder of Alison Thomas at 18 years of age on the last night of her family’s Caribbean vacation which includes her younger sister Claire at age seven. Two native islanders are accused of Alison’s murder, but things eventually amount to nothing.
We then come to present day and Claire is all grown up. She still deals with her sister’s death even to this day and encounters one of the men who was accused of killing her sister. Then this leads to a story of obsession on Claire’s part and reflecting on who she is and who her sister might have been.
Saint X focuses on three people telling their story: Alison, Claire and Clive Richardson. The three stories are blended together to get a whole picture. We also have interviews, audio diaries (yes, Claire gets to hear her own sister’s voice) and autopsy reports.
I think why I have some issues with this one is that I was not connected to the characters, but was involved enough in the story to keep listening. It did help me that there was a cast narration. There are many themes dealt with throughout the novel including class, race, and privilege. Saint X gives you enough to keep you thinking.
This one seems to be an average novel that may or may not be for you.