Rachel Hawkins' The Villa follows best friends Emily and Chess--both authors--on a summer abroad. Emily is healing both from a mysterious physical illness and a devastating breakup, and Chess is at the top of her game but wants a break with her bestie. They settle on six weeks in a villa in Italy, and soon learn that The Villa has a sinister (read: murderous) past.
This book took me four hours to read. I literally couldn't put it down. It's the perfect mashup of the way that Helter Skelter and Daisy Jones and the Six made me feel: both that fingernail-gnawing anxiety that comes with a murder among musicians, and the homey, dizzy feeling of wanting to be in the room with those musicians as they made magic before the mayhem.
Rachel did an excellent job of killing you (ha--pun intended) with the torture of switching POVs (and, in turn, timelines). Just when you were at the edge of your seat with one character, she'd pull you back to another person and time, only to snap your focus and concern on them so much so that you forget you cared about the previous POV at all. Until it was time to go back, that is. It was a lovely, at times maddening (in the best way!) back and forth.
(Also, I have to point out that I coincidentally read this book on July 29. When you read it, you'll know.)
I was fortunate enough to receive an ARC of The Villa by Rachel Hawkins, which releases January 3, 2023, and you absolutely should preorder it now!