I read Megan Abbott’s supportive blurb on the back of this book before I started it. By the end, I wish Megan Abbott had written it. It’s a familiar premise but tailor made for her gifts.
Melissa Ginsburg’s not a bad writer by any means. She really makes the city of Houston come alive: the sprawling highways, inexplicable traffic, bottomless amount of dive bars, sense of change while rooted in the familiar. But I had a hard time getting into this one, short as it is. And I think it’s because I couldn’t connect with the lead character.
Now I’ve enjoyed plenty of work around misanthropic, drugged-out female leads. Dope and Social Creature both immediately come to mind. But I felt there was no depth behind Charlotte. Ginsburg just kind of drags her from scene-to-scene as the story requires: she’s doing drugs here, she’s having sex there, she’s longing for her best friend, who was tragically bludgeoned to death. But I never felt like she raised the suspense to the point where it needed to be.
That could be in part because the killer was very obvious. I had a good idea of who it was half way through the book. Now, I’m not the type who needs to guess the murderer. I’m also not the type who needs to be surprised. I like a good story. But without suspense and a with a predictable reveal, the story fell flat. Melissa Ginsburg has talent around the edges, hence me still giving this three stars. I hope next time I read her, she can write a better story.