“The Good Girl,” by Mary Kubica
It happens all of the time, there’s a mega-hit novel and then a ton of novels after are compared to it. It’s a tale as old as time, and inevitably it’s what makes you pick up a book and, for the writers out there, possibly/hopefully/please – sells books.
“The Good Girl,” like many thrillers out there now (especially ones that feature a twist) was compared to “Gone Girl.” (Side note: if you haven’t seen “Gone Girl” yet, then you totally should. It was very well done.)
In The Good Girl, Mia is the daughter of a well-known judge and is kidnapped because of it. But the kidnapper middle man, Colin, decides not to turn her over to the truly bad guy and instead brings her to a remote cabin. Meanwhile her mom, Eve, and the lead detective, Gabe, work against the clock to find her.
Okay…I’m a writer so I don’t usually like to give “bad” reviews but I do give honest reviews. So, I’ll point out the good and the bad.
Perspective and bouncing around: I really liked the bouncing around in this story. It’s told from three perspectives (until the very last chapter). We hear the story through Eve’s, Gabe’s, and Colin’s words. However, as an added and interesting bonus, the story is told both before Mia is found and after (not sequentially). I really enjoyed this. It kept the action fast enough and the reader off balance enough (but not too much) for it to be enjoyable.
Pacing: Because of the action, change in perspectives, and bouncing around – this story was a very quick read. It was also told (mostly) in very streamlined accounts – not a lot of superfluous detail, which makes the story go faster and is appropriate for the type of story.
The man’s perspective/quasi-romance: Okay, I’m not a dude (obviously, I hope), but Colin’s perspective was good until…let’s just say until “complex feelings” arrive. Yeah. You know what I’m talking about and believe me, I was rolling my eyes too. Anyway, Colin comes off as a little…7th grade girl in his descriptions and depictions of a supposed love (that right, I’m calling it out, this was not real love). I was thinking the story could still be salvageable (maybe she would use his feelings/obsession against him to escape?) and was disappointed.
The mastermind: <Sigh> Now, I have to tell you, I had a pretty good feeling who the mastermind was in the beginning of the story but was hoping I’d be surprised. Then halfway through, I was certain. With only a quarter of the book left, I knew it was coming but was hoping there was a way to deliver it that wouldn’t disappoint me too much. And then…<sigh>…then, just a scant few pages from the end, I knew that wouldn’t be the case. I think she was going for a kind of “Usual Suspects” surprise end, but it ended up being rather campy (I imagined the mastermind literally steepling their fingers during their confession).
At the end of the day, I’d give this book 3 out of 5 stars, not terrible but not really great either. The first half was better than the second…with me full-out growling (GRRR) for the last quarter of the book.