Posted in Book Review, Books I have read, Five Star Reads

The Good Girl – Mary Kubica

Psychological Thriller 5*'s
Psychological Thriller
5*’s

This is one of those really hard books to review because nearly everything I want to say is potentially a spoiler but I will do my best. Mia is in a bar, she’s been stood up by her boyfriend and then she is approached by a man, Colin Thatcher, she leaves with him but rapidly realises that this could have been the worst decision of her life. Not only is the story told in the first person by four different characters; Colin, Mia’s mother Eve, Detective Hoffman who is searching for her and Mia herself, the narratives also switch backwards and forwards and if that wasn’t enough to follow there is no warning when the narrative changes.

“…anything that will tell me who Mia Dennett was with that Tuesday night she disappeared. She won’t eat. Four times I’ve offered her food, dropped a bowl full of it on the floor in the bedroom. As if I’m her damn chef”

At first I found this style mildly off-putting but it has the effect of dragging you into the story, after all there is no reading to the end of the chapter in this book because there are no chapters; just one swirling narrative backwards and forwards. In the hands of a less accomplished writer this style of writing could easily have turned into a disaster but I loved it. Of all the narrators I found Colin’s by far the most compelling but all shine a light on different aspects of the story. 

This isn’t just a thriller it is far more about why the characters act the way they do, and yes some of it is a little clichéd but after all, clichés exist for a reason.  Eve appears the most shadowy of all, especially at the beginning, but like them all, we see that there is more to this mousey, offhand woman than is initially presented to us. Beneath the main plot there are prosaic truths some often repeated: ‘You can’t judge a book by its cover’ others dealing with the nature of complicated relationships. Mia’s with her parents, Colin with his mother and Eve’s with her husband, Judge James Dennett all of which pull the plot in different directions as the reader considers what is known at any given point.

This is one of those books where I got to the end and wanted to reread it again to see how it reads once you know the main point, I didn’t, but I think this one will be re-read because I think what is beneath the surface of this book is as important as the plot. So I loved it and at the same time I can see why others may not be as enamoured as I was, not least because the blurb is a little misleading. I could go off on a rant on why publishers insist on comparing books to other books but I won’t, I’ll just advise that you put aside a decent amount of time and settle down to read this book and see what you think of it based on its own merits. I thought this was a cracking debut and I look forward to more from Mary Kubica in the future. I received my copy of this book from the publishers, Harlequin UK in return for my honest review. This book was published yesterday, 1 August 2014.

Author:

A book lover who clearly has issues as obsessed with crime despite leading a respectable life

29 thoughts on “The Good Girl – Mary Kubica

  1. Ooh! I’ve got this, and now you’re making me want to put down the three books I currently have on the go and start this – you make it sound v appealing. And I know exactly what you mean about comparing books to others, sometimes totally inaccurately – as you’ll all have noticed, everything right now is “the new Gone Girl”!

    1. I would say put those others down this is well-worth reading but I’d suggest you give yourself enough time to read it in decent chunks. The comparison and even what they suggest the book is about both annoyed me but it is a book best read with no preconceptions about the plot. Let me know what you think when you’ve read it. I have a feeling that different people will see different things which is partly why I’m tempted to read it again.

  2. Cleo – Yours isn’t the only encouraging review I’ve seen of this novel. It certainly sounds like one I ought to try, just for the sake of the innovative storytelling technique if nothing else. I’ll have to gear up for one of those times when I’m ready for something different and perhaps challenging in terms of style.

    1. I have to say I loved how the author structured this book and the underlying story was not at all as I expected. I’m going to be recommending this to those of my friends who are willing to try something a little different without really knowing what the book is about. Not the easiest of sells but I think those who take me up on it will enjoy the experience.

  3. I also hate when books are compared, as a selling point. I just downloaded this one, after having my eye on it for a while. I am now even more intrigued after reading your review.

    BTW…love the cover on your copy. Mine came with a different one, but since it’s on Sparky, I don’t even see the cover! LOL

    1. I think the publishers do far more of a disservice than possible increase in sales. Personally I ignore the comparisons but apart from being quite innovative this is nothing like Gone Girl on practically every level. I do hope you enjoy it when you get around to it.

    1. I agree, I’m not generally a fan but it does work for this book. I loved it but I would suggest that you need to be able to read it in fairly large chunks, this isn’t a book for picking up and putting down mainly due to the style.

  4. I’m glad you enjoyed it, but I fear the structure might drive me mad, so I think I’ll maybe give this one a miss. Thanks as always for a review that gives a clear picture of the book to potential readers! 😀

    1. Thank you. I thought you might turn this one that as much down to the first person present tense as anything else. The structure took a little getting used to but it did work for this unique novel. I really enjoyed it and frustratingly I can’t really explain why without giving a massive spoiler. A hard book to review but I’m glad it gave you the information you needed to make a decision. 🙂

  5. This does sound good. I think it’s great that you had the patience and were able to sort it out with each shift. I think with your love of suspense and mystery thrillers, it really suits you.
    I think the POV shifting without designated chapters would bug me. In all about organization when it comes to reading material for me; it’s the teacher in me.

    1. This was a really fresh take on the genre which won me over despite the constant shifting of time and character, fortunately the characters have well-defined ‘voices’ so it doesn’t take long but it did tap into another part of my brain. I’m known for being highly organised but it was worth the disturbing style.

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