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Saint X Bets On...

Saint X

February 2020

SAINT X by debut novelist Alexis Schaitkin opens on a holiday trip in the Caribbean, where a wealthy New York family is vacationing. Their daughters are as close as two sisters can be when one is 18 and the other is seven. The older daughter, Alison, heads out many nights to party with the locals, drinking and dancing in various clubs. Then one night, she does not come home. A hunt for her ensues, and all signs point to her last being seen with two of the hotel workers that night at a local club. But later, the timing is found not to jive with when she went missing. Her body is discovered, but what happened is still a mystery.

Flash forward a couple of decades, and the younger sister, Claire (who is now calling herself Emily), is in a taxi in New York City. When she glances at the taxi driver's license, she reads Clive Richardson and recognizes that name and his photo --- he’s one of the two men who was with her sister that night. She stalks him and then befriends him, with a goal to find out just what happened on Saint X. Claire wants to know the sister who vanished. Who was she really? There was such an age gap between them, and the mystery behind Alison --- not just her disappearance, but who she was --- haunts her. She searches for who can help her get to know the various parts of Alison’s world.

Alexis uses a wonderful technique in the book, giving a chorus of characters small parts where they fill in the details on Alison and Clive. These are people who do not need huge narratives, but ones who help to flesh out the story. I originally read this book and then brushed up listening to it on audio as I was scheduled to interview Alexis. The multi-cast recording really enhanced the storytelling.

It is so, so well done --- a very powerful look not just at the story of two sisters, but also at wealth, power and privilege. And I love the cover. Book clubs, there is a lot to discuss here!

Saint X
by Alexis Schaitkin