Linda’s Book Obsession Reviews “The Finalists” by David Bell, Berkley Books, July 5, 2022

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David Bell, the author of “The Finalists” has written a drop-dead chilling thriller that is so captivating and intense, it is difficult to stop reading. There are several genres for this intriguing novel, thriller, mystery, suspense, and fiction. The timeline for this story is set in the present and goes to the past when it pertains to the characters or events. The story takes place in a small college in a small town. I love the way David Bell vividly describes each and every character, the props and the rooms in this novel in such intricate detail.

The premise and theme throughout this story is that a generous scholarship can be won by one of six chosen contestants. The contestants were selected by ability and financial need. There is a rule of books, and the testing takes place in the locked Hyde House, an older building on campus. The Hyde Scholarship will be awarded to the student with the best test scores. Needless to say, the students are complex, complicated, and obsessed to win this prize and will stop at nothing to achieve it.

The award is courtesy of Nicholas Hyde, the last in the Hyde family. As the students arrive to take their tests, there are people protesting Nicholas Hyde for certain actions, Once in the locked house, there are strange occurrences. Each of the participants has a unique history and can be a suspect to any foul play. One of the rules is that the students have to stay for a certain number of hours. There are twists and turns, and as tension builds up, one student’s lifeless body is found. What else can go wrong?

I would highly recommend this intense and thought-proving novel to other readers. I can visualize this novel as a screen play, or even as a sophisticated game board similar to Clue. If you think the college application and experience is stressful this book is unexpectedly enlightening.

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