Actual rating: 3.5 stars
Wow. I definitely didn’t see that ending coming.
Have you ever read a book where the last chapter completely changes the entire book for you, and how you view all of the events that preceded it? That’s what happened to me with this book. Before that final chapter, I found the book compelling, but honestly kind of predictable. This is the story of a kidnapping, told from the perspectives of three people: the mother of the kidnapped girl, the detective on the case, and the kidnapper. Each chapter is from one of these perspectives, from either before or after an unspecified event.
Getting multiple sides and angles of the story like this maintained my interest. The back and forth flow of the timeline kept me from ever bogging down in the story. When the book first started, it felt like none of the characters, the kidnapped Mia included, had many endearing qualities. While they might look good externally, there was so much whining and self-pity and fury from all sides that no one was very likable. All of these characteristics were completely understandable considering the circumstances, but made the characters unpleasant.
The mother becomes maudlin and borderline crazy after the disappearance of her daughter, as I’m sure I would in her place. She strengthens as the book progresses, but she’s incredibly weak and full of denial in the beginning. The detective likes to throw his weight around too much in the beginning for me to enjoy his perspective, though he does improve throughout the book. The kidnapper is enraged and scared and way harsher than he needs to be, if only he would communicate with his captive a bit better. Again, this improves throughout the book.
As I stated earlier, while I found the story compelling there were very few surprises for me. There were things that were supposed to be twists that were hinted at and foreshadowed so strongly that I was basically just waiting for the characters to realize the things the reader already knew. But again, that final chapter provided a twists that I most certainly didn’t see coming, and it completely changed the book for me. I was honestly tempted to go back and reread the book, just because of that final chapter.
There’s not much more I can say about the book without giving anything away. It’s so hard to write a good review for a mystery novel! I will say that, when it comes to modern mystery/suspense novels, I’ve read some that were better than this one, but I’ve read many more that were worse. I can see myself trying more of Kubica’s work in the future.
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