The black and white femme fatale cover and the Moroccan setting combine to inspire some old Hollywood nostalgia, but Tangerine tries to leverage that to trick you into thinking there’s a similar standard of quality in the book. I’m still grateful to Leedock’s review for setting my expectations but yikes this just wasn’t that good.
To add insult to injury, Morocco is a DREAM destination for me, but to read Tangerine all you’d get is that it’s hot, humid, and crowded. There’s nothing distinct about the Moroccan setting, it’s just … Moroccan.
The story itself is more noir thriller than regular mystery. Our two main characters are Alice and Lucy who were roommates through their college years in the late 40s/early 50s at Bennington College in Vermont. Now they’re a year out of school and Alice has moved to Tangier with her new husband John. Alice has always been delicate – orphaned, anxious, British – while Lucy is a bit harder to pin down. She grew up poor and came to Bennington on a scholarship with a chip in her shoulder that she deserved more because she’d never had it. At first she might genuinely be friends with Alice, but that friendship quickly turns Single White Female and then like wham there are dead people.
The characters were, by and large, just too two-dimensional for me to get terribly invested. By the end of the book Alice starts to get her feet under her, but by then it’s too late (both for her and for the book). I guess the one interesting this is that (spoiler) the bad guy wins this one, but that’s about it.
Pass. But I’m caught up on reviews!