Took a break from this season of horror reading to get to a thriller I’ve been meaning to check off the ol’ TBR. Mixed feelings on it.
It was one of those roller coaster books. No it did not thrill me like a roller coaster. But the shape of my enjoyment went from flat to a high curve and back to flat again.
Cate Holahan develops an intricate mystery here, even if large parts of it are predictable. And she imbues it with some quality domestic suspense. A few of those scenes really got to me and flashed the talent she has as a writer.
She also does a great job of using the pandemic to heighten the suspense. It restricts a lot of what the characters could do and added a layer to the story.
Unfortunately, the story and characters are lacking. The characters aren’t flat; they mostly feel real. But I couldn’t connect with them. They’re internal monologues — the ideal time for characterization architecture — just kind of bored me. And you shouldn’t be bored while reading a thriller.
Also, the story itself, while having some interesting twists, never held me either. It looked like it might in the middle but the ending is middling. I don’t mind predictability but I do mind getting there in a satisfying way and this wasn’t it.
Also, while Holahan sets her book in New York City, she never uses the city itself. Most of the story happens inside the same couple of spaces. And I get that it’s meant to simulate pandemic life but she could have added other touches like sirens going off or talked about the inaccessibility of the city in a time where everyone is supposed to be inside.
It’s a decent effort but didn’t rise high enough to sustain a four star reading.