Try a Chapter: Mystery/Thrillers #3

Sunday, 19 May 2019

I always think that, with the Try a Chapter tag, it is almost as though I am miming actually leaving my house and going to a bookshop. It is as though I am sat on the floor, flicking through one and then another; drawn in by the pretty covers, but convinced by what is inside.
Because, if I had bought them in-person, as opposed to fluttering my eyelashes and somehow convincing a publisher to send me a digital copy of them, that is what I would have done to narrow down the choices and pick a winner.
After-all, nobody wants to waste all of their hard-earned pennies on a shit book.
And, I have found, when it comes to mysteries/thrillers/mystery-thrillers, it is pretty easy to tell from the first few pages when a book is just not up to scratch. Which is why, every time I get sent five or six of them on NetGalley, I toddle off to my room (I have just bought some yellow and grey dachshund bedding, so it is super cute and not at all mysterious and/or thrilling right now) and plan out this post, so that you all know which ones to lust after, and which ones to leave behind.

Thoughts: Okay, yeah, no. The tone is completely off for the situation - completely. I mean, miles and miles and miles away. It feels shallow and cold and flat; something that you most certainly do not want to come across as in the protagonist's father's funeral scene. Grief, I have found, is all-consuming and its juxtaposition in this book with the more 'trivial' details of teenage life, only managed to cheapen it as opposed to adding nuance. It is really odd, because the book has been widely praised (in the reviews I have seen, at least) as both a thriller and a deft exploration of grief, but I see no trace of either of them here.

Thoughts: Honestly? I think I just need to stay away from thrillers that are premised on the idea of the tragic backstory, the dark secret, the shit husband because, let me be honest, very few of them work! And, as is always the case, the writing was bad, wooden, clunky and the dialogue was filled with so much exposition that I don't even think you could programme a robot to speak with the lack of realism that these characters did.

Thoughts: There had been a LOT of buzz around Alice Feeney's latest release and let me tell you, even just the first chapter did not disappoint. The writing is good; filled with maybe a bit too much imagery and metaphor, but honestly? I quite like writing like that. And, the plot of fame and fortune is one that never fails to draw me in. I mean, seriously, give me 1782727 books about unhappy actresses and I will be there every damn time.

Thoughts: Oh, boy. Disclaimer: I did not actually make it to the end of the chapter; I got to the point where the police officer mused, "and was it disloyalty to his wife? how could you two-time a living woman with a dead one?" and realised just how little respect the dead woman was going to be afforded. She was a real person, within the limits of the novel anyway, and I could not sit back and watch her be reduced to this weird, fetishised role in a lacklustre white man's story.

Thoughts: Hmm... I do not know how I feel about this one. Because, even though I like the chapter and am intrigued about what is going to happen next, the trivialisation of domestic violence is just something that I can not get behind. Like, I get roll-your-eyes apathy; the feeling of I-deal-with-this-every-day-I-cant-be-arsed-anymore but I hope that, in reality at least, police officers do not picture Punch and Judy when faced with a matter like this.

*Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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