on 12 April 2015
I picked this book up because it was £1.99 in the store I went in because I was intrigued by it's blurb. I see that are few people are (and aren't) comparing it to Gone Girl which I have also read. It's similar in that a girl goes missing but that's really it. I think it would be a lot more accurate to compare it to Still Missing by Chevy Stevens. If you, like me, enjoyed that book then you will enjoy The Good Girl.
The book is very easy to read. I did find the Before/After chapters a little annoying but I think that's just personal preference. I found that the 'After' parts for me kind of gave away what was going to happen in the rest of the book, not so much the twist but the way events were going to unfold.
Characters were a little bleak, especially the mother, Eve. They were all a little stereotypical, i.e. the damsel in distress mother, the knows-best detective, but towards the end I didn't mind Mia and Colin so much. It was a shame because Mary Kubica obviously has some clear ideas that she just didn't manage to execute but for a debut novel it can only be a good sign of things to come.
Finally, the reason that this book wasn't four stars for me was that I felt a lot of the chapters were filling time, like the author was trying to bulk out the book a little. There were a lot of things that turned out to be nothing in the cabin and I didn't really care whether Eve and the Detective were in love or not, in fact it probably would have made for a better story had they not been, maybe rather a duo. There were some chapters that didn't really add anything to the story but just slowed it down which makes me wonder if that's where other reviewers have said they gave up?
I would recommend this book to a friend, however, maybe for a flight or a long journey. It's an easy read with a good ending.
Sometimes, being a book blogger means that you get to discover an author you may have never have encountered through the normal bookselling channels. This is one such case. I wouldn’t normally associate Harlequin with thrillers but the MIRA division is a new approach and having read the blurb and seeing the fantastic cover, I was sucked in. A few pages in, I had to check that this was a debut novel, and it was. This is an author to watch out for!
Mia Dennett, daughter of a wealthy, prominent Judge and his English born, stunning wife, has always been unique. A lover of art, independent thinking and basically anything the opposite of her father’s world. Rarely seen at home since she left at eighteen, Judge Dennett doesn’t seem too worried when she is reported missing by her friend. Her mother, Eve, knows something is wrong and will do anything to find Gabe Hoffman is assigned the case and traces her last movements. Meanwhile, Mia is cold, terrified and has no idea what is happening to her........
Mary Kubica has written a story of any mother’s worst nightmare. The disappearance of her child, no matter what their age. The Chicago based family are not used to getting their own way and are divided in how to approach the whole ordeal. Detective Hoffman resents their wealth and power but yet manages to form a connection with Eve. Their mutual desire to discover what has happened to Mia is the momentum the case needs. Alongside this, is Mia’s story. The reader knows from the start where she is and why she is there, but Mia herself doesn’t. I won’t divulge any more information as it is the unknown that keeps you flicking those pages over. And flick, I did. Read in one 24 hour period, I loved this book. It was a perfect pace, dragging you along nicely, great characters, amazing location descriptions and plenty of thrills. It resembles some of Harlan Coben’s stand alone novels and is a great cross gender novel. No fluffed out filler chapters, just one great page after another. A psychological thriller with the flair of a more established author, I can’t wait for Mary’s next book! MIRA, I am impressed........
Now we all know I love a good twisty tale – and this was an excellent example – with some great characters, a wonderful flow and a genuinely intriguing mystery, cleverly constructed and very addictive.
Mia lives separately from her rich and influential family – when she meets a stranger in a bar, she impulsively agrees to go home with him – however he is not what he appears and soon she finds herself in real danger, cut off from civilisation and fighting to survive. Meanwhile, back at home, her Mother is determined to find out what has happened to Mia, despite her husband’s insistence that there is nothing wrong.
My favourite thing about this one was the way the story came together – short snappy chapters telling first one person’s story then another and set both in the before and after – cleverly done so you are often looking backwards as well as forwards – one event may lead you to interpret a previous happening differently. The characters are all well drawn, from Mia herself, her family,Gabe the policeman who searches doggedly for clues and right at the centre, my favourite person in the mix, Colin. The Man who took her away…
Add to that some intelligent plotting, a plethora of clues to follow, some wonderfully emotional moments and a bad guy you will fall in love with and you have a most terrific story that will make the dullest day flow past you at break neck speed. The ending lives up to the promise of the rest (I did in fact work it out quite a bit before but was REALLY hoping to be wrong) and overall this is a most terrific example of its kind.
Highly Recommended for fans of the psychological thriller and a story with a sting in the tail…
**review via netgalley review copy thank you***
on 20 July 2014
Forget Gone Girl, The Good Girl blows it away. I hated Gone Girl as it was full of unlikeable characters that I could not care less about. In this book from the moment we realise Mia is missing I was hooked. Interestingly enough the next chapter shows Mia home after her disappearance so we know she has survived whatever ordeal she was subjected to. Thereafter the chapters alternate between before and after her return home. The main characters are Mia, her mother, the police detective investigating her disappearance Gabe and her captor Colin and as the story progresses each character changes and as such our opinion of each changes also. There is very little I can say about the plot line without giving anything away, but I can say it is the first thriller I have read that I felt far more sorry for the captor than I did the actual victim. Debut novel or not this thriller was amazing and the pages literally turned themselves and what made it even more impressive was the ending as often you are left underwhelmed at the conclusion of an otherwise gripping tired disappearance storyline and as such acclaimed thriller novelists should watch their back!
on 8 August 2014
The Good Girl is a psychological thriller, following Mia Dennett, the young and care free daughter of a judge who is kidnapped by the enigmatic stranger who she met in a bar, Colin. We follow Gabe, the detective investigating her disapperance, her mother Eve and kidnapper Colin, as well as Mia through out the ordeal through flashbacks, and in the days following her kidnapping. But I will stop there as I do not want to give too much away and spoil the story.
The Good Girl throws you straight in to the action and had me hooked from the beginning. It was fast paced and gritty, meaning I found myself sat up until the early hours of the morning, desperate to find out what would happen next. I haven't read a good psychological thriller in a while and so this was a refreshing break from all the chick lit books I've been reading recently.
The plot is brilliant, it is cleverly thought out and there were some brilliant twists to the plot which I never saw coming. And wow, what an ending! That was the biggest surprise of the whole book, but an incredible conclusion (I don't want to give any spoilers so will stop here, you will have to read TGG for yourself). I loved how the chapters were written from a different characters view point, I loved this insight in to their perspective of what was happening and seeing the developing relationships and the impacts these had on the story as a whole.
The characters were all incredibly diverse and brilliantly written, I could feel real empathy for each of them. Even Colin, at first I despised his character, but through his thoughts and as the story developed, I actually found myself becoming quite fond of him. In fact he was probably my favourite character.
It was hard to believe that The Good Girl was a debut novel, such was the skill and brilliance with which Mary Kubia wrote this book.The Good Girl was brilliantly written and flowed seamlessly between the past and present, and the different characters.
The Good Girl is a truly chilling read and is no doubt going to be a massive success. I am so glad I read this book as it really is a treasure and certainly deserves all the praise it has been receiving. This a book which I could easily have devoured in one sitting and it definitely stayed with me for a while after I finished it.
So if you love a psychological thriller and want a gripping read which will surprise you throughout, this is most definitely the book for you. So get clicking the link below and buy your copy today!
Thank you to Cara for sending my a copy of The Good Girl in exchange for an honest review.
on 17 January 2015
I was very intrigued by this book. Lots of excellent reviews, mentioned in book of year lists. I began to read it and was enjoying it but at some point I thought we would have a chapter from Mia's point of view. Instead the story is told by the detective, Mia's mother and the kidnapper. There is a lot of guessing and descriptions of Mia's moods and thoughts by these characters. I found this really irritating. I can see why people have compared this to Gone Girl, however it is an unfair comparison. Gone Girl is far better written, with more interesting, likable characters. This book lacked depth and I felt no empathy with the characters. It is worth a read but it is definitely not one of my favourite books.
on 24 May 2015
The Good Girl
by Mary Kubica
I enjoyed the The Good Girl by Mary Kubica. It is a psychological thriller with a strong plot, well paced and intriguing.
The format, in which we follow the action through the perspectives of the main characters ‘before’ and ‘after’ the kidnapping of Mia, worked for me but I am very glad that each chapter was clearly headed with the time and the name of the narrator.
The ‘after’ chapters do give away the fact that Mia is found but she has amnesia and thinks her name is Chloe! The plot is clever with a few red herrings and unexpected twists, especially the ending.
We start with Eve and a phone call to say that her daughter has not turned up for work. It gradually becomes apparent that Mia is missing but as far as the police, and Mia’s father are concerned there is no immediate reason to suspect foul play. No ransom note is received, no body has been found, and Mia was last seen leaving a bar, apparently quite happily in the company of a man.
The characterisation is good and the personalities of the main characters are revealed gradually against the development of the story in a balanced and subtle way.
The book is really about relationships. Mia’s changing relationship with her kidnapper, her mother, Eve’s relationship with her husband and the one that seems to be developing with Gabe, the police officer investigating Mia’s disappearance. Mia’s relationship with her mother and particularly with her harsh unsympathetic father is especially significant.
This was a debut novel but I would definitely read more by this author.
on 19 November 2014
Advertised as being a better book than Gone Girl which was what drew me to this book. However I can only charitably say that this is a different book than Flynns novel. I am certainly not convinced by the "better" label. However this doesn't make this a bad book by any means.
The book progresses via the viewpoints of three of the main characters at both before the event and after it. This can often be confusing as the voice used for the detective Gabe Hoffman and Eve Dennett are often very similar, in fact at times, too similar. The only differing voice is that of the main antagonist and even then it's so off-hand and guarded that the final dénouement comes as more of a surprise when you understand how scarred the psyche of this man is and how that would make him quite unstable. This is what made the plot twist so "shocking" in my opinion and in fact the assertions of the psychologist at the end hold more validity than the inherent romanticism.
The sketchy characterisations within the book tend toward being one dimensional apart from the conceit of voicing their own past in their own viewpoints. The least defined character being the detective who seems to be merely a plot device to keep on moving the book to its conclusion rather than an integral part of the whole. Apart from a single character the rest follow the "good" and "bad" outlines from start to finish and rarely depart from those. Even the 'twist' seemed rather contrived as the 'bad guy' had so clearly been delineated as such from the books opening chapter.
That's not to say that the book is bad. It isn't by any means and is very readable and quite enthralling at times. It has a good pace and the flitting between the past and present is handled well which is not an easy thing to do. However it isn't a gripping crime novel and plays more towards a romance with kidnapping thrown in for good measure. And this is not really what I had expected nor what I wanted but credit where it's due, the book is written well and avoids being too clichéd and hackneyed. A decent read for someone who likes a mix of romance and crime but not to my particular taste.
on 14 November 2015
I picked up a copy of The Good Girl as the author, Ms. Mary Kubica, is scheduled for a Q&A in one of my Goodreads groups. I found this book to be an excellent debut novel and a highly enjoyable read.
The Good Girl is an almost completely character-driven story; the main players are very well developed. If you are looking for a big dose of action and/or relentless suspense, this is not the book for you. The tale is about Mia, a prominent judge’s 25-year-old daughter, who is kidnapped in Chicago and ensconced with her abductor in an isolated cabin near the Gunflint Trail in northern Minnesota. The story is told via 3 different points of views—those of Eve (Mia’s mother), Gabe (the lead detective on the case) and Colin (the kidnapper). The time frame shifts back and forth between before and after Mia’s return to Chicago (not a spoiler). Though they sound a bit daunting, I found the frequent POV changes and time shifts to be minimally disruptive.
Being allowed to enter the head of the bad guy, but not the victim was a unique experience that I quite enjoyed. The author did a terrific job in establishing Colin as a sympathetic character, though he certainly had his flaws, and I found myself rooting for him to pull off his dream plan.
Despite the lack of much suspense throughout the first 50-70% of the story, my attention never flagged as I was so interested in what the characters were going to do. The pace and tension did pick up significantly over the last 25-30%, and I was even moved to tears a few times in the last 11%.
There were a few things I did not care for. Initially I found the first person/present tense narrative a little distracting, but soon became accustomed to it. Being from Minnesota and familiar with its North Shore, I would have liked Ms. Kubica to have given her readers a “better feel” of the setting. I may be spoiled by William Kent Krueger’s command of pulling readers into the very same northern Minnesota locale, but still think Ms. Kubica could have done better with that. In addition, I thought Gabe, the lead detective, had an unrealistic amount of free time to devote to activities unrelated to the case. Finally, there were a number of times Ms. Kubica elected to tell us about conversations rather than have the characters speak. I like dialogue and would rather hear the words directly from the characters.
I want to end by saying the epilogue packed a powerful punch. Holy cow, I sure didn’t see that coming!! Nice one, Ms. Kubica!
All in all, I really enjoyed this novel and look forward to reading Ms. Kubica’s second offering, Pretty Baby. I recommend The Good Girl to all fans of psychological suspense, especially those who are willing to trade a bit of suspense for more interesting characters. I see a bright future for Mary Kubica and am very interested in seeing how she evolves as an author.
on 8 March 2016
****** WARNING, CONTAINS SPOILERS ******
The book was interesting and gripping, BUT the plot and writing style had some major flaws.
The book was cleverly written in the sense that it moved through time, which made you want to go back and read certain chapters again in light of new information as the plot gradually unfolded. Also, the characters, particularly Mia and Colin, were complex and well-developed. I found myself actually caring about what happened to them, getting quite attached and hoping for an ending in which Colin didn't die. The development of Mia and Colin's relationship, from hatred to romance, was so sweet and had me gripped. It didn't seem out of place or unrealistic.
HOWEVER, there are a few reasons why I gave this book four stars, rather than five. With the first two reasons, I might be over-thinking the plot slightly, but they are just a few issues that popped up for me, personally.
Firstly, the twist at the end was slightly confusing. I mean, if Mia planned her own kidnapping, why didn't she just tell Colin in the car when he didn't drop her off to Dalmar? Mia said that the reason she didn't tell Colin about her kidnapping plot in the beginning was because he seemed like a madman and she was scared of what he might do to her. I don't think that explanation really made sense to be honest. Realistically, I'm sure it would have made sense to tell him, at some point, when the panic set in.
Also, when Colin and Mia were in the cabin surrounded by police towards the end of the book, Mia thought Dalmar was outside. That is why she got out a gun and pressured Colin into holding it as a means of protection. Initially, Colin tried to explain to Mia that the police was outside, not Dalmar. Nonetheless, she didn't listen and rushed around in a panic. BUT, shortly after, she stood still with the gun and had a moment with Colin where they stared at each other. In that moment, I'm sure Colin could have explained to Mia that it was the police outside, not Dalmar. Surely, then, things would have turned out different? Maybe, Colin and Mia would have been able to drop the gun, put their hands up and leave the cabin?
Finally, aspects of the writing seem terribly racist to me. While most of the writing was good, the author's use of descriptive language ruined things for me. I tried to set it aside because I was enjoying the plot, but I was offended. The author not only equates a run-down area with a high African-American population, but her description of Dalmar in the final chapter is quite hard to read. The description perpetuates the stereotype that black people are subhuman, animal-like and, for this reason, I didn't feel comfortable reading it. I was tempted to give the book one star solely for the author's use of language, if I'm honest. However, I'm trying to be fair and acknowledge the merits of the book too.