Monday, April 2, 2018

Review: Tangerine

Summary: The last person Alice Shipley expected to see since arriving in Tangier with her new husband was Lucy Mason. After the accident at Bennington, the two friends—once inseparable roommates—haven’t spoken in over a year. But there Lucy was, trying to make things right and return to their old rhythms. Perhaps Alice should be happy. She has not adjusted to life in Morocco, too afraid to venture out into the bustling medinas and oppressive heat. Lucy—always fearless and independent—helps Alice emerge from her flat and explore the country.

But soon a familiar feeling starts to overtake Alice—she feels controlled and stifled by Lucy at every turn. Then Alice’s husband, John, goes missing, and Alice starts to question everything around her: her relationship with her enigmatic friend, her decision to ever come to Tangier, and her very own state of mind.

Tangerine is a sharp dagger of a book—a debut so tightly wound, so replete with exotic imagery and charm, so full of precise details and extraordinary craftsmanship, it will leave you absolutely breathless. - Ecco

I didn't expect to get much read this weekend because we were visiting relatives both Saturday and Sunday (and I can't read in the car!), but I ended up finishing a terrific novel of suspense called TANGERINE by Christine Mangan. It's hard to believe that this is Ms. Mangan's debut novel because it's so smart and entertaining, and evidently George Clooney agrees. He's already bought the film rights and Scarlett Johansson is slated to star (which will be absolutely perfect!)

TANGERINE begins when a dead body is being removed from water... and the reader has no idea who he is. The rest of the book is spent building up to this scene. TANGERINE takes place in the mid 1950s in Tangier. Alice Shipley is a newly married woman who moves to Morocco for her husband's job. He loves Tangier while Alice is almost afraid to leave their apartment. The crazy medinas, the crowds, and the heat are all a bit intimidating to her.

Much to Alice's surprise, her college roommate Lucy shows up in Tangier with virtually no explanation. The two women were once best friends but haven't spoken in over a year after a falling out one night during college. Lucy is determined to put the past behind them, and for brief period, Lucy and Alice return to the comfort of their friendship. Lucy even gets Alice to leave the flat and start exploring Morocco.

However, Alice's reluctance towards Lucy starts creeping back in. She realizes that Lucy is once again trying to control her life, and she doesn't like it. When Alice's husband John goes missing, Alice thinks she might be reliving the nightmare from her past. All of the doubts and insecurities about herself come rushing back in, and Alice has to struggle to get out of Lucy's grip!

I adored TANGERINE -- it was so good. The book was beautifully written, and the storyline was exciting. The novel went back and forth between women's lives in Tangier and the time they spent at Bennington College, and it also alternated chapters between Lucy and Alice's points of view. I appreciated how the story unfolded, and I equally liked how both narrators were a little off -- you could say slightly unreliable. And if you know me, I often times dislike being manipulated by unreliable narrators; however, in this case, I thought be were extremely well developed.

I also really enjoyed how the novel made Tangier into a character of its own. The author brought the setting to life through her vivid descriptions of the coastal city. However, the reader also got a sense of the drastic change and tension that was taking place during this time period in Tangier. It was the perfect backdrop to this story, and I could almost feel Alice's discomfort with the brutal heat and the crowds.

There was so much that I loved about TANGERINE. The characters were incredibly interesting -- both in the present and the past; and I loved the almost cat-and-mouse game that they played. Lucy was able to reinvent herself over and over again (sometimes a little too conveniently), while Alice -- well -- let's just say "poor Alice." It was so intriguing to get inside both of their minds, and I loved how their thoughts and actions got more and more desperate as the tension ratcheted up to the final pages.

I think fans of Hitchcock and Patricia Highsmith will appreciate this tale of suspense. I know I did. Highly recommended!

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.


bermudaonion said...

I can't read in the car either. :( This book sounds terrific - I love the time period and the setting.

Kim@Time2Read said...

This does sound good. Now I'm wondering about who was pulled out of the water!

Peaceful Reader said...

This sounds really good. I will look for it at my library! I love reading in the car but it often leads to a nap. Luckily my husband loves to drive.

Sally Loomis said...

I have always been jealous of those who can read in a car. It opens up so much reading time! I would literally turn green. This book is our new book club pick, really looking forward to it! We just finished Palpable Passions by Tom Corbett. Difficult to classify the genre, in my opinion but I would say contemporary fiction. I really appreciated how it makes you consider a variety of perspectives on current issues facing our society. Highly recommend! I found it here,