The Good Girl by Mary Kubica
Mira UK. ISBN 978-1848453111
“I’ve been following her for the past few days. I know where she buys her groceries, where she has her dry cleaning done, where she works. I don’t know the color of her eyes or what they look like when she’s scared. But I will.”
Born to a prominent Chicago judge and his stifled socialite wife, Mia Dennett moves against the grain as a young inner-city art teacher. One night, Mia enters a bar to meet her on-again, off-again boyfriend. But when he doesn’t show, she unwisely leaves with an enigmatic stranger. With his smooth moves and modest wit, at first Colin Thatcher seems like a safe one-night stand. But following Colin home will turn out to be the worst mistake of Mia’s life.
Colin’s job was to abduct Mia as part of a wild extortion plot and deliver her to his employers. But the plan takes an unexpected turn when Colin suddenly decides to hide Mia in a secluded cabin in rural Minnesota, evading the police and his deadly superiors. Mia’s mother, Eve, and detective Gabe Hoffman will stop at nothing to find them, but no one could have predicted the emotional entanglements that eventually cause this family’s world to shatter.
An addictively suspenseful and tautly written thriller, The Good Girl is a compulsive debut that reveals how even in the perfect family, nothing is as it seems….
The book reads in very short chapters so is easy to read and keeps you wanting to turn the pages. Each chapter is from the viewpoint of either Mia’s mother, the detective or Colin Thatcher. They are also set before and after an event that you are not sure the full facts of. This gives the book an even more interesting and unique take on the crime novel. The writing is clean and beautiful. No word is used unless it’s needed, and each word works for its place, giving you a real feeling of what is happening for that character at that point in time. You feel immersed in a world shrouded in mystery and helplessness.
Kubica has created a cast of characters that you root for even if you feel maybe you shouldn’t.. You watch the relationship between Colin Thatcher and Mia Dennett shift and change as he defies his employers. I loved reading the chapters from Thatcher’s viewpoint the most. He is a hard man who is employed to do hard jobs. This man is unbendable and yet he makes a decision that changes everyone’s lives.
The detective Gabe Hoffman is wonderfully drawn. He is steady and determined, yet gentle and realistic.
I did figure out the twist in the story just under halfway through. I don’t know if that is because I write and therefore I read as a writer, deconstructing language and plot or because at that point I was reading quite slowly and savouring the words Kubica had written that I picked up on the single sentence that gave me the suggestion. It did nothing to detract me from the book though.
It’s difficult to believe that this is a debut novel, it is so cleverly and beautifully written. I look forward to reading more by Kubica. This is a fantastic book and I would recommend it to every crime fiction reader out there.