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  • Judith D Collins

The Finalists


By: David Bell

ISBN: 978-0593198698

Publisher: Berkley

Publication Date: 07/05/2022

Format: Other

My Rating: 3 Stars (ARC)


The competitive selection process for a prized college scholarship turns deadly in the latest thriller from USA Today bestselling author David Bell.


On a beautiful spring day, six college students with nothing in common besides a desperate inability to pay for school gather to compete for the prestigious Hyde Fellowship.


Milo—The front-runner

Natalia—The brain

James—The rule follower

Sydney—The athlete

Duffy—The cowboy

Emily—The social justice warrior

The six of them must surrender their devices when they enter Hyde House, an aging Victorian structure that sits in a secluded part of campus.

Once inside, the doors lock behind them. The students are not allowed to leave until they spend eight hours with a college administrator who will do almost anything to keep the school afloat, and Nicholas Hyde, the privileged and notoriously irresponsible heir to the Hyde family fortune. If the students leave before time is up, they’ll be immediately disqualified.

But when one of the six finalists drops dead, the other students fear they’re being picked off one by one. With a violent protest raging outside, and no way to escape, the survivors viciously turn on each other.

The Finalists is a chilling and profound look at the lengths both students and colleges will go to survive in a resource-starved academic world.


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Praise



"I raced through THE FINALISTS, which is not only a first-rate thriller but an insightful commentary on the challenges facing higher education. THE FINALISTS is proof positive that David Bell is one of the best thriller writers working today."

--Alma Katsu, author of RED WIDOW


“One of the brightest and best crime fiction writers of our time.”

—Suspense Magazine


“David Bell writes spellbinding and gripping thrillers that get under your skin and refuse to let go.”

—Linwood Barclay, New York Times and #1 international bestselling author


“A master.”

—John Lescroart, New York Times bestselling author


“A tense and twisty suspense novel about the dark secrets that lie buried within a community.”

—Hester Young, author of The Gates of Evangeline and The Shimmering Road


"A little slow in the beginning but ultimately a compelling account of how far some people will go to achieve their dreams."

—Kirkus Reviews




My Review


A scholarship competition turns DEADLY in David Bell's latest academic suspense novel—THE FINALISTS.


How far will these students go to achieve their DREAMS?


Six students agree to a lock-in in an old Victorian building, remote and secluded, for eight hours in the hope of winning a full ride to Hyde, a small New England fictional college. The prestigious Hyde Fellowship will provide free tuition, books, room, board, and other perks to one lucky candidate. It all looks pretty straightforward, an essay contest followed by individual interviews.


The eight-hour schedule includes a high tea, essay writing, a shot of whiskey, lunch, and a personal interview.


The Finalists:

Milo—The front-runner.

Natalia—The brain.

James—The rule follower.

Sydney—The athlete.

Duffy—The cowboy.

Emily—The social justice warrior.


The candidates have nothing in common except a WIN.


Nicholas Hyde delinquent heir to the Hyde family fortune) the rich, decadent, spoiled playboy and Vice-President Troy Gaines will assist. Each candidate must impress the two. They will oversee the competition.


The candidates must give up their electronics and be locked in the house by the campus police. If they leave, they are disqualified.


Let the games begin.


There is also a political protest going on outside involving the college founder's activities in the Civil War and things get out of hand. However, the events unfolding inside are much more dangerous.


Although these students have different backgrounds, and different reasons as to why they are there, the one thing they have in common, is their need for money.


However, once inside, they start dropping DEAD.


Which among them is the KILLER, and will any of them SURVIVE?


David Bell is a gifted and talented writer, and I have enjoyed his books over the years; however, this was one, unfortunately, not a favorite. The premise is a little difficult to believe and get your head around.


Secondly, no likable characters make it difficult to get into and enjoy the story. Each made questionable decisions. You are not invested in any of them. You just want it to be OVER. There was no communication, and each was out for themselves. A lot of dialogue of bickering and complaining and reads more like a YA genre.


Many red herrings make things interesting, but when reading, the premise is unrealistic and requires an extreme suspension of disbelief. The first part is the setup and moves slower; however, the last half speeds at a fast pace when they start dropping dead.


In the end, the fictional account demonstrates just how far these characters will go for money, greed, success, and a WIN! I would classify this as more of a locked-in murder mystery than a thriller.


For fans of Agathe Christie's And Then There Were None. I look forward to picking up his next book.


Thank you to #Berkley and #NetGalley for an ARC to read, review, and enjoy.


www.JudithDCollins.com

@JudithDCollins | #JDCMustReadBooks

Pub Date: July 5, 2022

My Rating: 3 Stars ✨✨✨




About the Author



David Bell is the USA Today-bestselling author of eleven novels from Berkley/Penguin, including KILL ALL YOUR DARLINGS, THE REQUEST, LAYOVER, SOMEBODY’S DAUGHTER, BRING HER HOME, SINCE SHE WENT AWAY, SOMEBODY I USED TO KNOW, THE FORGOTTEN GIRL, NEVER COME BACK, THE HIDING PLACE, and CEMETERY GIRL.


His work has been translated into numerous foreign languages, included on several bestseller lists, nominated for the Pushcart Prize five times, and, in 2013, won the prestigious Prix Polar International de Cognac for best crime novel by an international author.


He is a professor of English at Western Kentucky University where he co-founded and directs the MFA program in creative writing. A native of Cincinnati, Ohio, he spends his free time rooting for the Reds and Bengals, watching movies, and walking in the cemetery near his house. He lives in Bowling Green, Kentucky, with his wife, writer Molly McCaffrey. WEBSITE

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