Blake Crouch’s “Good Behavior” – A Review.

good-behavior-blake-crouchStory   ★★★★
Writing ★★★★
Cover  
Mystery ★★★★

PROS: Well structured 
      Emotional
      Suspenseful
      Real characters 

CONS: No real ending (what?)
      Author comments throw off the 
      reading cadence

Whoop whoop. Who doesn’t love to read a book that has been adapted for television? When I first received Good Behavior: The Letty Dobesh Chronicles, it was yet to be aired. Now, you can watch the first season on TNT (rather, catch up on the already completed first season) featuring the lovely Michelle Dockery (aka Downton Abbey’s own Lady Mary).

Anyway. Today I’ll tell you a bit about the book itself,since ahem, this is after all a book-review, and not a TV series, blog.

Good Behavior: The Letty Dobesh Chronicles by Blake Crouch is a collection of his three interlinked novellas (The Pain of Others, Sunset Key, and Grab), which follow the (mis)adventures of Letty Dobesh, a thief and drug junkie fresh out of the prison and who finds herself back on the market, stealing for hire. Because the book has been adapted for television, after the first story is over, we are offered a commentary from Blake Crouch on the idea behind the storyline, and what he envisions for Letty as the star of the new TV show. It is like watching behind the scenes of the show after you’ve finished an episode. A bit unusual in the book setting, but nonetheless interesting. I enjoyed the commentaries by Blake, but also found it to somewhat break the reading rhythm. The stories are well written, in a fast paced rhythm that are expected of a crime/mystery style novel. Letty Dobesh is pretty personable, and we often feel bad for her, as her  bad choices are really dictated by her desire to change and do good – hence the clever title Good Behavior.

By now you’ve guessed, I enjoyed this book. Although I understand these were novellas put together as a book, I still would have liked them to be rewritten to actually make one novel, and not a novel in three parts. The reason is that when all was said and done, there was no real ending, no real epilogue/conclusion for the reader to fall on. We can just assume that Letty’s Good Behavior was only temporary and that her desire to reunite with her son and be a good mom, is not as strong as being a world-class thief. I did enjoy however the cliffhangers that were presented to us in each storylines, leaving me completely shocked and mesmerized in the end. To find what will happen next to Letty, I, the reader, am only left with one solution: to watch the TV adaptation. Well done, Blake, well done. However, can we next time have an actual novel with a beginning and an end to satisfy the readers, please? That was my only grievance for this book, and that is why I gave it a 4 star.

That being said, if you love crime/mystery novels, and don’t mind them telling three different stories that build on each other til the end, and love interesting female characters, well, this book is for you. It can be devoured in a couple of hours over a cup or glass of your favorite beverage (Letty would approve).

Thank you to NetGalley, and Thomas & Mercer for an ARC of  Good Behavior: The Letty Dobesh Chronicles by Blake Crouch, in exchange for an honest review.


BUY THE BOOK: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indie Bound
FOLLOW BLAKE CROUCH: Website
MORE INFO
 Language: English
 Genre: Fiction, Thriller, Suspense, Psychological Thrillers
 ISBN-10:  1503940497
 Published: November 15, 2016
 Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
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Emma Cline’s “The Girls” – A Review.

the-girls-emma-clineStory   ★★★
Writing ★★★
Cover   
Mystery 

PROS: Well structured
      Emotional
 
CONS: A little slow beginning
      No strong characters
      No real plot twists

You have probably seen Emma Cline’s book all over the internet by now. It seemed at one point to be THE book you ought to read, if you were only going to read one book (after all it made it to the NY Times Bestsellers list!).

I really had high hopes for this book. And maybe that’s the problem. I am not sure it if was all the hype constructed around the book, or if it was my hope to read the next “Gone Girl” with an even bigger story twist. Instead… well. It was all but that.

The Girls is Emma Cline’s debut novel and it tells the story of Evie Boyd, a young privileged teenager, who finds herself drawn by a group of girls living in some sort of made-up boho camp ( really a run down ranch), and following an older man as their leader. It is very clear whose story Emma Cline is trying to tell: the infamous Manson clan. The story doesn’t get any more original from that point, instead, we are offered to relive the horrors of the past but it a very slow fashion. Where one would hope to see strong female characters and their take of what it must have been like to be part of a cult like Manson’s was, we are instead offered a pretty pale version. Evie is another stereotyped rich girl who finds herself sucked into something bigger than she had bargained for. We are supposed to feel bad for her, but instead I fell very annoyed by her character and disappointed by all the other female characters in  this book.

As you can imagine by now, I didn’t think much of this debut novel. Yes, it was well structured and well told, but the magic and the surprise elements were just lacking. Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong inspiring ourselves from history (what would be do without a good historical fiction anyway?), but there must be something more compelling than just regurgitating facts and changing names. There must be an element of surprise for the reader, and the characters have to be compelling enough to lead us til the end. However, in my humble opinion, The Girls missed the mark.

I give the book a solid 3 stars, and that is mostly due to the fact that despite Emma Cline missing the ‘Thrill’-bandwagon, she was pretty good at describing scenes and translating how Evie felt and why she was drawn to the leader of the cult. We get it – she is lonely, feeling unloved, and desperate for attention. Emma Cline made me understand Evie’s struggle, and why Suzanne seemed so appealing to her. But like I said, besides that, there was nothing else to the story, and that is very sad.

I think Emma Cline has potential to write a good novel, and I hope that someday I will come across a much enticing novel that will really make me rate it 5 stars.

Thank you to NetGalley, and Random House for an ARC of  The Girls by Emma Cline, in exchange for an honest review.


BUY THE BOOK: Amazon
FOLLOW SARA AHMED: Website
MORE INFO
 Language: English
 Genre: Fiction, Coming of Age, Thriller
 ISBN-10:  0735208182
 Published: June 14, 2016
 Publisher: Random House Large Print

Book Review| The Therapist by Lori Lesko

Book Review: The Therapist by Lori Lesko

Author  

Story     

Writing 

Cover    

Mystery ★

 

PROS

Good structure of the book

Easy to read

Easy to follow

Multiple (unexpected) plot twists!

CONS

Too short

ORDER THE BOOK

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

Book Depository

MORE INFO

LoriLesko.com

Language: English

Genre: Fiction,

           Thriller,

           Psychological thriller,

          Mystery

ISBN-10: 1508994951

ISBN-13: 978-1508994954

Published: April 15, 2015

Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform

DISCLAIMER

All opinions generated in this review are purely my own. No compensation was received for this review.

I have been exchanging tweets with Lori Lesko long before I purchased her latest book. There were many reasons for me to acquire the book: I had witnessed Lori’s perseverance as a writer, which has also been stimulating me with my own writing, and I was very intrigued once the synopsis (and cover!) was revealed to the public. I knew then that I wanted to read this book, and since it would be supporting and encouraging the writer, it didn’t take much of convincing.

“Lindsey CarMichael was a gifted child with an IQ of 190. Her father had high hopes that she would follow in his footsteps and practice law. Instead, Lindsey decided to pursue psychology as a career and her father relented, with one caveat: Lindsey was to be the very best. And she was. But the combined stress of recovering from a past trauma and the frustration of being stuck in an unhappy relationship has left Lindsey overwhelmed and anxious. She definitely needs a vacation, but her boss isn’t willing to let her go. Exhausted, Lindsey’s life begins to unravel quickly. If she’s not careful, she’ll be the one in need of therapy.”

Not having read Lori’s previous work, I didn’t know what to expect. I knew that this was her first attempt at writing a thriller/mystery type of novel. When I picked up the book, I could hardly put it down. The storyline was great, the characters were all very captivating. Lori has a gift with words, as they seemed to flow naturally, and I never felt prompted to criticize the writing style. For a debut novel in this genre, I found The Therapist quite surprising. Every time I thought I had the plot figured out, there was a twist in the storyline, which kept my interest going.

Although this was a great read, I felt a little bit unsatisfied by its brevity. I think the characters and their troubles could have been dived into deeper, with a couple more chapters exploring Lindsay’s ghosts of the past, as well as the devious plan of her patient and the outcome(s). Maybe even get more insights of the devious personality of each supporting characters? I think it would have contributed more to the psychological part of the novel.

However, despite finding the novel a bit too short, I think Lori Lesko did a wonderful job at providing the readers with an engaging book full of twists. I am really looking forward to reading more of her work!

Side Note: This review was first published on my personal blog.