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  • Writer's pictureJudith D Collins

The Lodge

ISBN: 9781837562114

Publisher: Inkubator Books

Publication Date: 07/26/2023

Format: e-book

My Rating: 5 Stars + + (ARC)


It’s so quiet at the lodge. But if you listen very hard, you can hear the screams.

Anna has rebuilt her life after a toxic relationship with her obsessive, controlling ex, Clayton. She's finally found happiness with her fiancé, Joel, a veterinarian in the running for a dream job on a game reserve in South Africa.

When Joel is asked to interview at the luxurious safari lodge, Anna is delighted to be invited too. But her exotic holiday takes a sinister turn when she discovers that toxic ex Clayton is also a guest at the lodge.

Clayton seems happy with his new girlfriend, but Anna isn’t buying it. She doesn't believe in coincidences, and her gut tells her that Clayton is here for all the wrong reasons.

And she’s right. Because what Clayton has planned is beyond her worst nightmare. She escaped him once before – but this time he’s prepared the perfect trap.

The Lodge – the shocking psychological thriller from the best-selling author of The Visitors and What She Knew.

My Review

Master of suspense, Miranda Rijks (favorite author) returns following The Other Mother with her best yet, THE LODGE —A twisty spine-chilling locked-in psychological thriller set in a luxurious remote safari lodge (game reserve) in South Africa where the past and present collide in her latest adventurous riveting suspense.

"A deliciously INTENSE ride! The author skillfully takes readers down a dark, twisty path, teeming with secrets, obsession, and revenge."

"As Darwin suggested, it is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change. And that is me. I am just like the lions out there in the bush."

Anna and Joe are from the south of England and have been together for a year. Anna is now in a healthy relationship with Joel, a lovely and caring veterinarian, and will soon be married.

However, in the past, she was in a toxic relationship with a controlling man, Clayton. He was obsessive and stalked her, fearing for her life. She finally learned he was dead, which gave her peace.

Joel announces he has an opportunity for a dream job he has always wanted on a game reserve in South Africa—an all-expense paid trip for two. He is a vet specializing in large animals. Contacted by a headhunter, Joel had always wanted to work in the bush. He assures Anna it would be the trip of a lifetime. (and man is it, but not in a good way).

It would be a job interview to assist in rehabilitating injured animals. That means Anna would have to leave her job, but Joel says the money would be good, and she could write the book she has always discussed.

Anna (a scientist) is not thrilled about leaving her family, job, and friends to move to remote South Africa. However, she gives in and agrees to go. After all, he may not even like it, and he would never forgive her if they passed on the opportunity to check it out. They will use this as a holiday pre-honeymoon getaway.

The trip was long and tiring, and she hated flying. Then they had to take a small jumper plane to the remote game reserve. There was no turning back, so she had little choice.

Upon arrival at the beautiful (fictional) Twivali Safari Lodge Private Game Reserve with guide Ntando, they find stunning accommodations captivated by the wildlife and the lodge. The owner Nancy seems friendly and accommodating.

There are also other guests, Zak and Katie, husband and wife, journalist and photographer, there for the first day or so. They are informed that wild animals surround them, so they must always be accompanied by Ntando or another staff member who carries a gun when they leave the lodge for their tent. They also have no internet or cell phone reception.

Anna then notices a man, and she feels like she will pass out. It is Clayton. Her dead ex! How can this be? In South Africa? He is here with a girlfriend, Lois. Now they are stuck in this remote location for a week with her stalker? He is a guest at the lodge! No car and nowhere to run? What are the chances? Is this some trap or setup?

Something is up, and she does not believe in coincidences. Then strange and sinister things happen—she is held at gunpoint, Joel goes missing, and the staff acts strange. She is trapped. Where is Joel, and how will they escape this nightmare? Someone is murdered. Anna wants nothing more than to go home.

Between the breathtaking scenery and extraordinary wildlife (the Big 5), there is beauty and danger, much like the characters. Told from Anna and Nancy's POVs (then and now), the author expertly unravels the layers of mystery, lies, and deceit at the heart of this chilling thriller.

CAPTIVATING! What a book—Heart-pounding, I was on pins and needles the entire time, and no way was I putting it down. The suspense and tension are INTENSE and claustrophobic.

I loved her The Insomniac locked-in thriller; however, THE LODGE is even better. Think about it—you trust no one, a creepy ex, you cannot run because wild animals will attack you, a remote location, people with guns, no phone, internet, no car.

A master of suspense, Miranda Rijks ratchets up the tension in yet another stellar thriller, packed with twists you do not see coming, blended with nuanced insight and characterization. The surroundings and characters are menacing, and the threat level is amped up by the disturbing dynamics and a backstory that grips!

Miranda is at the top of her game with THE LODGE. As I have mentioned previously, her books stand out among the many thrillers out there for several reasons:

~She is well-traveled, and her settings are a character in itself. They are always fascinating, with vivid descriptions, and you can feel you are traveling without leaving your chair. I appreciate books with strong settings, and she knows the places she writes of well.

~Each of her books has depth and offers a thought-provoking takeaway and further reading. In this case, there is rhinoceros horn poaching that threatens the extinction of these magnificent beasts. In her author's notes, she references the charities supporting the conservation of rhinos and the baby white rhino, Shamar, she is helping.

~I enjoy literary fiction mixed with my thrillers, and Miranda is a master storyteller. I appreciate her writing style and always find a new word or two in her books and learn something new.

Highly recommend all her books, and I am a huge fan; however, THE LODGE is her best and a must-read! Top Thrillers of 2023.

Special thanks to #InkubatorBooks and #NetGalley for an advanced reading copy for an honest review. I also purchased the hardcover copy.

@JudithDCollins | #JDCMustReadBooks

My Rating: 5 Stars ++

Pub Date: July 26, 2023

July 2023 Must-Read Books

Top Books of 2023

All this and more in THE LODGE!

About the Author

Thank you for visiting my Amazon author page. I write psychological thrillers - many of which have been Kindle bestsellers. If you'd like to receive free short stories, info on my writing and be the first to know about upcoming releases, you can sign up to my newsletter at

Before becoming a fiction writer, I helped newbie entrepreneurs turn their ideas into successful businesses. In 2015, I was diagnosed with Ewing's Sarcoma, a rare bone cancer, and everything changed.

I live in Sussex, England with my husband and black Labradors. When I'm not writing, I'm dreaming about living in a chalet on a Swiss mountain, obsessively knitting and painting on my iPad. My books include: The Visitors, The Arrangement, The New Neighbour, The Second Wife, The Other Mother, The Insomniac, The Concierge, Forget Me Not, The Only Child, What She Knew, The Influencer, Roses Are Red, You Are Mine, Deserve To Die, I Want You Gone, Fatal Fortune, Fatal Flowers and Fatal Finale.

Find out more at and sign up to my newsletter at Thank you for reading my books!

Check out my fun Elevator Ride Q&A Interview with the fabulous Miranda Rijks where we go behind the book and the author!



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