Tress Montor knows that her family used to mean something—until she didn’t have a family anymore. When her parents disappeared seven years ago while driving her best friend home, Tress lost everything. She might still be a Montor, but the entire town shuns her now that she lives with her drunken, one-eyed grandfather at what locals refer to as the “White Trash Zoo,” – a wild animal attraction featuring a zebra, a chimpanzee, and a panther, among other things.
Felicity Turnado has it all – looks, money, and a secret that she’s kept hidden. She knows that one misstep could send her tumbling from the top of the social ladder, and she’s worked hard to make everyone forget that she was with the Montors the night they disappeared. Felicity has buried what she knows so deeply that she can’t even remember what it is… only that she can’t look at Tress without having a panic attack.
But she’ll have to.
Tress has a plan. A Halloween costume party at an abandoned house provides the ideal situation for Tress to pry the truth from Felicity – brick by brick – as she slowly seals her former best friend into a coal chute. With a drunken party above them, and a loose panther on the prowl, Tress will have her answers – or settle for revenge.
In the first book of this duology, award-winning author Mindy McGinnis draws inspiration from Edgar Allan Poe and masterfully delivers a dark, propulsive mystery in alternating points of view that unravels a friendship... forevermore.
“𝘚𝘩𝘦 𝘴𝘢𝘺𝘴 𝘛𝘳𝘦𝘴𝘴 𝘔𝘰𝘯𝘵𝘰𝘳 𝘭𝘪𝘬𝘦 𝘪𝘵’𝘴 𝘢 𝘯𝘢𝘮𝘦 𝘵𝘩𝘢𝘵 𝘴𝘵𝘪𝘭𝘭 𝘮𝘢𝘵𝘵𝘦𝘳𝘴. 𝘚𝘩𝘦 𝘴𝘢𝘺𝘴 𝘪𝘵 𝘭𝘪𝘬𝘦 𝘸𝘦’𝘳𝘦 𝘴𝘵𝘪𝘭𝘭 𝘧𝘳𝘪𝘦𝘯𝘥𝘴. 𝘐 𝘵𝘰𝘭𝘥 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘤𝘢𝘵 𝘐 𝘤𝘰𝘶𝘭𝘥 𝘥𝘰 𝘪𝘵. …. 𝘐 𝘫𝘶𝘴𝘵 𝘥𝘰𝘯’𝘵 𝘬𝘯𝘰𝘸 𝘪𝘧 𝘐 𝘤𝘢𝘯 𝘬𝘪𝘭𝘭 𝘍𝘦𝘭𝘪𝘤𝘪𝘵𝘺 𝘛𝘶𝘳𝘯𝘢𝘥𝘰.”
All the stars for this creative retelling of Poe’s The Cask of Amontillado. The Initial Insult is a gender-bent twisty retelling that reveals just what went wrong between two best friends, leading to a darkly disturbing story that kept me turning pages well into the night.
Tress Montor and Felicity Turnado used to be best friends until one night when Tress’s parents (Annabelle and Lee – Love this nod to Annabelle Lee!) are taking Felicity home and tragedy strikes. The only person left to tell the tale is Felicity but she doesn’t remember what happened … or does she? After Tress’s parents disappear without a trace, she goes to live with her grandfather; the alcoholic, coldly unemotional and sketch ‘zoo-keeper’ Cecil, who barely provides for Tress while Felicity gets to go on with her life as if nothing has happened. At least this is the way Tress sees it. She has everything that Tress doesn’t; family, friends, popularity …. Basic needs such as cleanliness and clothes, things that Tress lost when she lost her parents. As the years (and the offenses) go by, Tress decides that she’s going to get the truth out of Felicity, no matter what, and the way she does this is unsettling but coming from a place of desperation.
The Initial Insult is an unnerving slow-burn thriller that reveals each transgression through the chapters, giving each girl’s point of view on certain incidents, presenting a unique insight into the characters motives and psyche. Outside influences and pressures play a big role along with guilt and regret especially with Felicity and her choices. This is where the secondary characters come in full-force, beautifully fleshed out in their supporting roles. The addition of the big cat’s perspective was the chef’s kiss and I loved this!
And, ah, that cliff-hanger ending did me foul! I don’t know how I’ll wait until the next book but I’m here for it!
Literally. I. Am. Waiting.
My most sincere thanks to @epicreads for this #gifted copy of The Initial Insult!
TW: Death of pet/animals