top of page
Top of Blog
Exotic refreshing cocktails next to book and straw hat by the pool on vacation._edited.jpg
  • Writer's pictureJudith D Collins

The Off Season

ISBN: 978-1668023518

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Publication Date: 05/14/2024

Format: Other

My Rating: 5 Stars

For fans of Lucy Foley and Ruth Ware, a destination thriller about a woman who accompanies her new husband to a remote hotel during the off-season to do renovations—and uncovers deadly secrets behind every door, from the author of the “endlessly entertaining and fiendishly clever” (Christina McDonald, USA TODAY bestselling author) thriller Last One Alive.

The Venatura Hotel desperately needs a facelift. Too bad renovations are murder on a marriage.

While recovering from a professional setback, documentary filmmaker Jane Duvall stays at a remote hotel during the off season with her new contractor husband, Dom, and his daughter, Sienna. Surrounded by an immense forest and the mighty Fraser River, Jane wants nothing more than to bond with her new family. But she’s unsettled by the cold, quiet presence of the hotel’s owner, Peter, who is overseeing Dom’s renovations. When she starts asking questions, Dom grows distant and Sienna becomes belligerent. Undeterred, Jane uncovers secrets that make her question exactly who she married, including a series of strange disappearances at the hotel in previous seasons.

When a rainstorm of epic proportions threatens to flood the banks of the river and claim the Venatura Hotel, Jane must solve these mysteries if she’s to survive the off season.

My Review

Canadian author and queen of psychological suspense, Amber Cowie, returns with her fifth novel, THE OFF SEASON —the stunning front cover draws you into this atmospheric and intense domestic suspense and riveting psychological thriller. #CoverCrush

An off-season stay at a remote grand hotel becomes a filmmaker's nightmare. No one is as they appear, and everyone is hiding dark secrets. Skeletons from the past rise to the surface.

Jane is married to her new husband, Dom. After a disastrous breakup and a devastating professional blow, her holiday was meant to be about recovery, not romance.

There were many red flags.

~They had known each other for less than six months.

~He is thirteen years older.

~This is his second marriage.

~He has a teenage daughter.

~She had never been interested in having children/

~He was rebounding from a bad breakup.

~Her last film had nearly killed her career.

Dom loved that she was a documentary filmmaker (true crime) and owns a production company called Ember. Dom wasn't her type, but maybe that is why it worked. He was honest and loyal. Mickey, her oldest friend and valued production partner, urges her to tell him the truth. She has secrets.

In the meantime, The Venatura Hotel desperately needs a facelift. Dom receives a call from his friend Peter who has hired him to reconstruct the facade of the aging hotel he had purchased in the wilderness of the Fraser Valley, ten years earlier.

Jane wants nothing more than to bond with her new family and stepdaughter, Sienna (who lives in Paris), who lost her mother at a young age. There is a lot Jane does not know about Dom or Sienna, but she does not ask too many questions so they do not snoop in her past.

Peter needed Dom to take over as caretaker for the upcoming off-season, beginning in mid-October after Canadian Thanksgiving and lasting until the hotel opens on May 1. The person Peter had hired had backed out.

Built in the 1950s, his riverfront hotel was roughly two hours from Vancouver and catered to wealthy hunters, anglers, and wilderness enthusiasts for nearly seventy years. Peter had owned the hotel for the last 10 years and had been carefully renovating it with the help of contractors like Dom.

Due to storms and heavy weather, a low-lying bridge that connected the property to the highway often washed out during heavy weather, which is why they needed someone on-site to take care of the facilities.

Jane thinks this idea is fabulous for them, and she could use the space to write and dream up a new project. However, she knows little about the hotel's past, the owner, her husband, and her stepdaughter.

Dom informs her that the hotel is remote, the Wi-Fi is unreliable, and phones can be out for weeks on end due to storms. They agree that it will be wonderful to spend the winter at the Venatura Hotel!

Upon arrival, the place was stunning, but soon, she was put off by the coldness of the owner, Peter. She started inquiring about the hotel's past, and Peter and Dom both became distant. Then she started having problems with Sienna.

Between the pouring rain and the remote setting with flooding that could destroy the hotel, the missing former caretaker, Elijah Stanton, and then Jane uncovers more dark, sinister secrets of the hotel that make her question Dom and his past.

What happened to the guests of this hotel in the past? How did Dom's first wife, Melissa, die? Then she finds out he was here with his first wife from Sienna. Is someone trying to kill her? Now, they cannot leave as the bank has been consumed by the driving current of the swollen river. Flooding. They are trapped. Trust no one!

Her friend Mickey is worried about her, and they continue to communicate about the unsettling things happening and the hotel's history. Sienna is mean and disturbing, Peter is creepy, and Dom is acting strange. How is Peter connected to the events surrounding the hotel?

Jane is stuck in a hotel with her widower and psycho daughter. Dom thinks she is fixating on the horrible reinterpretation of the past. It turns out five people had worked on the renovations crew in 2021. Melissa, Elijah, Randeep, Dylan and Jospehy Jack. One drowned, one died by suicide, and the others were missing. What is going on?

The messages in the mirror. GET OUT!

INTENSE, spine-chilling, and action-packed, THE OFF SEASON will keep you on the edge of your seat from page one to the ending! Unsettling, menacing, sinister, and dark skeletons of the past.

I am a huge fan of the author. (a favorite author). I have read all her books, and each one is unique, with isolating settings, twisty plots, and well-developed characters that will have your heart pounding.

If you are a fan of authors Ruth Ware, Lucy Foley, and Carol Goodman, you will enjoy Amber's style and her talent for spinning a twisty story with atmospheric and claustrophobic settings with creepy, sinister, and Gothic Hitchcockian vibes with modern-day TikTok/ YouTube twists (you will find here). Put this gem on your summer reading list!

@JudithDCollins | #JDCMustReadBooks

Pub Date: May 14, 2024

My Rating: 5 Stars


“A fragile family comes to stay at a grand, deserted hotel. But they become more and more disturbed as they confront buried secrets—and murder—in this atmospheric thriller. Highly recommended!”

—SHARI LAPENA, #1 bestselling author of Everyone Here Is Lying

“Action-packed and twisty. With dark family secrets and an ominous setting, The Off Season is a decidedly modern take on Rebecca.”

— ROBYN HARDING, #1 bestselling author of The Drowning Woman

“In a style reminiscent of Ruth Ware, Cowie transports the reader to a stunning but isolated resort full of twisted menace and dark secrets. It’s a gripping and addictive read!”

— DANIEL KALLA, internationally bestselling author of High Society

“Amber Cowie has done it again—The Off Season is hauntingly atmospheric, claustrophobic (in the best way), and deliciously twisty. Impossible to put down.”

— SUZY KRAUSE, author of Sorry I Missed You

“Nobody writes haunting isolation like Amber Cowie. Fans of Lucy Foley will love The Off Season, a riveting tale of deceit and regret where no one should be trusted, nothing is what it seems, and even the weather might kill you.”

— S.M. FREEDMAN, author of Blood Atonement

“With her signature atmospheric setting that will chill you to the bone, Amber Cowie has once again written a terrifying, exceptionally structured, mesmerizing suspense. Staying with her new family in a beautiful yet ominous hotel in a remote location where bodies drop and disappear, Cowie's determined heroine risks her love and life to uncover the skeletons lurking in every corner. The Off Season is an exhilarating thriller that will electrify you.”

— SAMANTHA M. BAILEY, USA TODAY and #1 bestselling author of A Friend in the Dark

“A timely and atmospheric thriller that deftly dovetails a Hitchcockian plot with the TikTok generation. Amber Cowie writes with heart and crafts gripping tension with both precision and panache. A dynamite read.”

— A.J. DEVLIN, award-winning author of Five Moves of Doom

“A well-written book with references to some good Golden Age mysteries. . . . Just who and why and what is happening to the people who went to the Point and who will be the last person standing is as clever a twist as Ms. Christie ever envisioned.”

—The Globe and Mail

Interviews with Amber

About the Author

Amber Cowie is a novelist living in a small town on the west coast of British Columbia. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, Salon, The Globe and Mail, Crime Reads, and Scary Mommy and has been endorsed by numerous bestsellers including Samantha M. Bailey, Shannon Kirk, Kerry Lonsdale, Catherine McKenzie, Robyn Harding, and Blake Crouch. Her first novel, Rapid Falls, was a Whistler Book Awards nominee, hit number one overall on Amazon, and was a top-100 bestselling Kindle book of 2018.

She is a mother of two and reader of many. She likes skiing, running and making up stories that make her internet search history unnerving.

Her next book, The Off Season, will be released by Simon and Schuster Canada in spring 2024.







bottom of page