The Vacation by John Marrs

EXCERPT: ‘So you are never curious how Joe’s life became such a waste?’
‘Who are you to judge him? Just because he hasn’t got what you have doesn’t mean he’s wasted it.’
‘He’s got no money, no home, no family . . . Nobody deserves that.’
‘But a man can live without all those things. And you have more in common with him than you think.’
‘Please enlighten me, oh divine oracle.’
‘Neither of you has any freedom.’
‘Well that’s crap. I may not have much money but I’m not a slave to my next fix.’
But you’re not free from the limits you set yourself either. You’re one of the most uptight, frightened little shits I’ve ever met. You went travelling to escape something – that’s clear – then you separate from your friend and you end up here where you hide in the margins, never in the middle of the page. You’re too scared to embrace freedom . . . you’re like a fish in a bowl looking out towards the ocean but too gutless to make the jump.’

ABOUT ‘THE VACATION’: How far would you run to escape your past?

Venice Beach, Los Angeles. A paradise on earth.

Tourists flock to the golden coast and the promise of Hollywood.

But for eight strangers at a beach front hostel, there is far more on their mind than an extended vacation.

All of them are running from something. And they all have secrets they’d kill to keep…

MY THOUGHTS: I never did the backpacker experience when I left school. It wasn’t much done back then, so I enjoyed this experience. I like stories where a disparate group of people are thrown together. I enjoy the dynamics of them all getting to know one another.

In The Vacation we are introduced to eight characters who are staying at the same hostel in Venice Beach. Their stories move between the current time and the past, as the reasons behind their travels are slowly revealed. It is all a bit disjointed in the beginning, and it doesn’t really come together cohesively until two thirds of the way through the book when things begin to get really interesting. So be patient.

The characters, although all running from their pasts for various reasons, are all very different and easily distinguishable. It really is no mean feat to be able to tie together this number of threads without it becoming confusing, but John Marrs succeeds admirably.

There were a few things that initially puzzled me, but the author ties everything up before the ending. There are plenty of twists and turns, especially in one of the threads. Every time I thought I had that storyline figured out, Marr would double back on himself and disrupt my theories.

While The Vacation is not the best book I have read by this author, it is entertaining and enjoyable.


#TheVacation #NetGalley

I: @panmacmillan

T: @johnmarrs1 @PanMacmillan

#contemporaryfiction #crime #familydrama #mystery

‘…trying to second-guess a crystal meth addict was as pointless as giving a dog a Rubik’s cube.’

THE AUTHOR: After working as a journalist for 25-years interviewing celebrities from the world of television, film and music for national newspapers and magazines, John Marrs is now a full-time writer.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Pan Macmillan via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of The Vacation by John Marrs for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

For an explanation of my rating system please refer to my profile page or the about page on

This review and others are also published on Twitter, Amazon and

Author: sandysbookaday

I love good quality chocolate. I love the ocean and love to be in, on or beside it. I read any and every where. I am a proud mum and Nana. I like wine, gin, Southern Comfort, a cold Heineken on a hot day. I am very versatile like that. I cross stitch, do jigsaws, garden, and work on a farm. I am an occasional scribbled. I have far too many books I want to read to ever find the time to die. I am an active member of Goodreads as Sandy *the world could end while I was reading and I would never notice* and review on Amazon under the name Sandyj21. My Goodreads reviews are automatically linked to my Facebook page. Groups I belong to and participate in on Goodreads include: The Mystery, Crime and Thriller Group; Mysteries and Crime Thrillers; Psychological Thrillers; Reading for Pleasure; Crime Detective Mystery Thrillers; English Mysteries; Dead Good Crime; Kindle English Mystery, All About Books and NZ Readers. April 2016 I made the Top 1% of Goodreads reviewers (As follows) Hello Sandy *The world could end while I was reading and I would never notice*, In our community of readers, you stand out in a notable way: You're one of the top 1% of reviewers on Goodreads! With every rave and every pan, with every excited GIF and every critical assessment, you've helped the Goodreads community get closer to a very important milestone – the 50 Million Reviews mark!

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