Monday, July 28, 2014

Review: The Good Girl

Summary: Born to a prominent Chicago judge and his stifled socialite wife, Mia Dennett moves against the grain as a young inner-city art teacher. One night, Mia enters a bar to meet her on-again, off-again boyfriend. But when he doesn't show, she unwisely leaves with an enigmatic stranger. With his smooth moves and modest wit, at first Colin Thatcher seems like a safe one-night stand. But following Colin home will turn out to be the worst mistake of Mia's life.

Colin's job was to abduct Mia as part of a wild extortion plot and deliver her to his employers. But the plan takes an unexpected turn when Colin suddenly decides to hide Mia in a secluded cabin in rural Minnesota, evading the police and his deadly superiors. Mia's mother, Eve, and detective Gabe Hoffman will stop at nothing to find them, but no one could have predicted the emotional entanglements that eventually cause this family's world to shatter.

An addictively suspenseful and tautly written thriller, The Good Girl is a propulsive debut that reveals how even in the perfect family, nothing is as it seems…. -- Harlequin Mira

I've already reviewed a few books that I read while on my beach vacation, but one of my favorites had to be THE GOOD GIRL by Mary Kubica. As few months ago (maybe BEA?), this book got on my radar and I couldn't wait to get my hands on a copy. The description of THE GOOD GIRL sounded fantastic, and I was ready for a good suspense novel with some twists and turns. It ends ups that this was one very well written thriller!

THE GOOD GIRL tells the story of Mia Dennett, the daughter of a wealthy Chicago judge and his wife Eve. Mia had a tense relationship with her family; and against their wishes, she became an inner-city teacher.

One night, Mia goes missing after trying to meet her boyfriend at a bar. Her boyfriend doesn't show (again!) so she heads out with a charming stranger named Colin. All Mia intends is to have some fun for the night, but Mia soon realizes that Colin isn't what he seemed. Colin was actually hired to kidnap Mia and deliver her to his powerful and corrupt boss; however, Colin has a change of heart (or mind) and takes Mia to a cabin in rural Minnesota.

Mia's mother Eve is determined to find Mia with the help of detective Gabe Hoffman, and she finds herself facing her own set of complications. The events leading up to the kidnapping, as well as the ones after, put this seemingly perfect family's world at risk of falling apart.

I found THE GOOD GIRL to be an utterly gripping read! I actually read it in just two sittings while basking in the sun at the Outer Banks -- I think I took a break for a quick lunch. I loved the story and the characters and even the pacing of the story. And the surprise ending actually took my breath away. It was quite the read!

I was surprised to learn that THE GOOD GIRL is Ms. Kubica's first novel. The writing was definitely polished and I thought that writing showed maturity, especially with the character development. I was very impressed with how well she brought the characters to life. I think her decision to tell the story through multiple characters' viewpoints contributed to this. With the exception of a few secondary characters who were kind of one dimensional, all of the major characters were complex. While I expected Mia and even Eve to be fairly well developed because they told the majority of the story, I was surprised by how complicated Colin was. Despite being a kidnapper for hire, I had compassion for Colin's situation and I actually ended up liking him.

Another thing that stood out to me about THE GOOD GIRL was how it explored relationships... on a variety of levels. There book explored parent/child relationships, sibling dynamics, marriage, and even relationship between Eve and Gabe as well as Mia and Colin. The last two relationships were quite complicated, and I thought the author did a good job of making them interesting to the reader.

Finally, I really liked the basic premise of the story. Maybe I should have featured this one first? The story was not only told in the voices of multiple characters including Mia, Eve, and Colin, but it went back and forth between "Before" and "After" Mia's disappearance. The transitions were smooth and this format really intrigued me and made the story more interesting and confusing (in a good way!) Since this book had a few comparisons to GONE GIRL, I figured that there would be a surprise or two along the way. However, I really appreciated the big one in this story! I wouldn't exactly compare it to GONE GIRL, but I would say that it's equally warped!

THE GOOD GIRL would make an interesting book club pick and probably unlike most of what your group reads. There is a reading guide available with ten thought-provoking questions. Some of the themes you might want to explore include appearances, amnesia, parent/child relationships, vengeance, love, dependence, and selflessness. Beware: The reading guide has a spoiler or two so don't read it until you've finished the novel!

I found THE GOOD GIRL to be a wonderful thriller. Recommended for fans of psychological suspense with surprise endings!

Thanks to the publisher for providing a review copy of this novel.

Mystery Mondays is a regular feature where I review all types of mystery books -- traditional mysteries, suspense/thrillers, and even cozies! Please feel free to share your thoughts on any recent mystery books that you've read. Mystery Mondays is a regular feature where I review all types of mystery books -- traditional mysteries, suspense/thrillers, and even cozies! Please feel free to share your thoughts on any recent mystery books that you've read.


bermudaonion said...

That sounds so good. I've been drawn to the cover since the first time I saw it. I've got to get my hands on a copy of that book!

Beth Hoffman said...

Lately I've been drawn to psychological thrillers/suspense, and this book is definitely one I plan to read!

The Many Thoughts of a Reader said...

Sounds good. Comparable to Still Missing by Chevy Stevens, perhaps?

Kim@Time2Read said...

I've seen this one around a lot but it didn't really catch my attention....until now. I think I want to read it!