Digital Reads Reviews

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There Should Have Been Eight- One discovers the Truth Now

Digital Reads Reviews is a blog-haven for book posts and reviews. This is a review of a locked room thriller by Nalini Singh, There Should Have Been Eight.
Picture of Shalini

Table of Contents


There Should Have Been Eight

Seven friends.

One last weekend.

A mansion half in ruins.

No room for lies.

Someone is going to confess.

Because there should have been eight. . . .

They met when they were teenagers. Now they’re adults, and time has been kind to some and unkind to others—none more so than to Bea, the one they lost nine long years ago.

They’ve gathered to reminisce at Bea’s family’s estate, a once-glorious mansion straight out of a gothic novel. 

Best friends, old flames, secret enemies, and new lovers are all under one roof.

But when the weather turns and they’re snowed in at the edge of eternity, there’s nowhere left to hide from their shared history.

As the walls close in, the pretense of normality gives way to long-buried grief, bitterness, and rage.

Underneath it all, there’s the nagging feeling that Bea’s shocking death wasn’t what it was claimed to be.

And before the weekend is through, the truth will be unleashed—no matter the cost. . .

I liked it

Publication Date:November, 2023

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My Review

What was There Should Have Been Eight all about

There Should Have Been Eight by Nalini Singh was a slow-burn thriller, far cry from her usual fare of fast-paced urban fantasy. 

Eight people became best friends as teens and were a close enmeshed group until they lost Bea to suicide. Darcie, her sister, was the only one who was allowed to pay her homage and cremate her far, far away from home. None of the other six got to say their goodbyes. 

Years later, they were now having a reunion in Darcie’s gothic family mansion to remember Bea. When the storm arrived, people started dropping off as flies, until there was only Luna to get to the truth. 

The whole concept intrigued me because I knew Nalini Singh was a good author, and she wouldn’t take a wrecking ball to the book. There would be some amount of logic weaved in the story. 

A standalone thriller, this gave me quite a few moments of thrill as a book in this genre was wont to do.

The Hook

Trigger Warnings: none for me

The locked room murder mystery trope of There Should Have Been Eight was the most compelling hook to keep me into the book. This had to be read carefully as there were nine characters in total in the book, and all of them had their past falling over their present. Yet, for me, it was simple to keep track of them. Got to be the writing that did that. 

The Characters

There was a lot of diversity in this group of eight friends. All of them were of different ethnicity, but somehow this representation did not feel organic. Making them a diverse group didn’t give them authenticity over the others or make me feel that the plot line and life circumstances were unique to them. Probably they were written in to keep the reader criticism to a minimum. 

The whole story of There Should Have Been Eight was told from the POV of Luna, who had her own personal challenge to face up to and that she never did even at the end. I was happy that the author had given all of them a different characteristic and tone of speech, making their voice clear. It also helped that each had a special kind of relationship with Luna. There seemed to be genuine caring for her, even when she never seemed to allow the walls around her to fall. 

Believing the characters was possible but believing the motive and what happened at the end needed a few pinches of salt. Nevertheless, this thriller with so many people was an easy read. 

The Intricacies of There Should Have Been Eight

A locked room murder mystery modified to show locked mansion murder mystery, where each friend of Luna kept dropping until she had all men dead or dying, wounded girls in a car nearly dying, the snow intensifying, followed by a blast of the first secret of the book. The first twist.

Many points in the story kept a death-grip on me–pun intended–as the men died first followed by the girls, yet there was a fulcrum on which this book pivoted and lay spread its secrets. Being a murder mystery, it allowed me to don the Detective hat and come to a conclusion. And I was ecstatic that I was partially right. 

The Setting and the pace

A good amount of description was weaved into the story to build up the atmosphere of the book where the secret of the first wife of the manor was added, though that didn’t go anywhere in the book. It was just a way to show the darkness that this place was embedded in. 

As said before, the pace was slow, but because I was so connected to all the characters in the book, for me, the book managed to move at a fast momentum until the end, where I felt things could have been explained a bit better. 

The style of writing - The Prose

Being the first thriller in her kitty, I felt she had done a good job in keeping the mystery pulled along the entire book. The ending seemed slightly rushed. I didn’t know what happened to all the remaining ones after the crisis. 

Being the debut, I would say the writing in There Should Have Been Eight was stronger than others in the same realm. The suspense created was admirable, and the last few twists made it compelling. I loved the backstories and the interweaving incidents of all the characters. Kept me on my toes.

How There Should Have Been Eight made me feel

A story with good subplots in a closed room where murders occurred one by one – I would say such a book was bound to thrill me. I found myself having so many theories, out of which only one of them came true. The rest was quite explosive. 

Do I recommend this book, There Should Have Been Eight?

Yes. completely. Go for it. Especially if you get the book on a sale or in your library. It was a well detailed thriller that kept me completely engrossed into it. But it is also quite slow with each day being told to us in detail. 

If you’ve loved the review, buy me a cuppa to perk me up.

Check out the other books available on Amazon. 

I got the physical version of the book from my friend, and this is my journey down its pages, straight from the heart. STRICTLY HONEST and UNBIASED.

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