Well, I’ve done it again. I just can’t quit Freida McFadden. This time I’ve read four books in a row. I have a bingo book I want to start but I upended myself. Let’s review!
The Perfect Son. The Perfect Son features a series of murders and disappearances that may have been perpetrated by a teenage boy. His mother is convinced he is a sociopath, given things he’s done in the past. When another teenage girl disappears, she tries to find out what her son knows about it. This book was okay. McFadden is known for her twists, and there are a few, but they are kind of lackluster. I was able to figure out the twists well ahead of time. That may have been partially because I’m getting used to McFadden’s books, and can better anticipate which way she’s going to go. Once again the book is about a white, upper middle class suburban people. After all the books I’ve read, I can safely say McFadden doesn’t write about any other group. Any romances are straight and fairly boring, between muscle-bound handsome men and beautiful women. There’s nothing wrong with all this, per se, but I don’t much care for reading about the same milieu over and over again. Two stars.
Do You Remember? I enjoyed Do You Remember? A woman who has been in an accident can’t remember anything after it, and each day is new again as she can’t remember the day before. She is locked in her house by her husband—a man she does not remember marrying—and struggles to figure out what’s happening to her. McFadden starts each chapter as a new day for the protagonist, so the chapters involve repetition with new details every time. You would think that would get dull, but McFadden handles it super well. The plot was interesting and well paced. The ending was okay, maybe a little silly. But I liked the conceit. Three stars.
The Inmate. The Inmate is about a nurse who works at a prison, where an ex-boyfriend is serving a long sentence for murder. She somehow got the job at the prison without anyone making the connection to her ex, which is ludicrous since they went to trial where she testified against him for attempting to murder her. As time goes on, she feels herself being drawn to him again (and par for the course with McFadden, despite the guy tried to, you know, killer her, she still finds him “devastatingly handsome” and “hot”). He insists he’s innocent, but since the murder took place when she, him, and four friends were the only ones who could have done it, she doesn’t believe him.
I read this book fourth from this list and confess I was a little burnt out on thrillers and McFadden by this time. The author has a certain writing style and pacing that never varies from book to book. All books have a twist, all books feature a woman as the protagonist, all books have a woman-in-jeopardy theme. I don’t have any major complaints really, but sometimes reading a bunch of books by the same author can burn you out, especially when I can now see the solutions coming for the most part.
The protagonist has a 10-year-old son who has been severely bullied in school because he has a single mom, which is weird in this day and age. The bullies call him a bastard, which…do kids really use that term to taunt kids born out of wedlock? Most younger kids have no idea what the real meaning is of that term. And the mother is anxious everyone in her new town will know she’s a single mom, as if that would be a big scandal. There are other unrealistic moments throughout the book, just little things like this, but they can be annoying. Also, one of the characters’ special necklace with a snowflake is the exact same special necklace with a snowflake a character has in The Wife Upstairs. Weird repetition. But I’m just being fussy now. The story moved along with a good ending, so despite my burnout, I say a solid three stars.
The Wife Upstairs. The Wife Upstairs is an odd book in many ways. A young woman goes to work for a man (a hot man as she says ad nauseum) whose wife is an invalid after a fall down the stairs. The wife is severely disabled. The young woman seems to fall for the husband instantly, noticing his chest and his ass after only a few days of working for him. She constantly says inappropriate things, such as on the first night asking if he and his wife share a bedroom. Pardon me, lady, none of your business. She’s both condescending to the wife and overly frank, babbling at her about hot past boyfriends and how she fantasized about them, although she gets no reply.
The wife gives the young woman her diary, which takes up part of the book. The diary details the wife’s relationship with her husband. She also tries to communicate with the young woman although she is barely verbal. Finally, one day she says: he’s going to kill you. The book picks up from there. It had a decent ending. Not great, not too bad. Two stars.