The Good Girl
Released: July 29, 2014
“I know the feel of dismissive eyes, eyes that look without really seeing a thing. I know the sound of a contempt voice. I know how betrayal and disillusionment feel, when someone who could give you the world refuses even a tiny piece of it.”
This is a whirlwind of a first novel for Mary Kubica, and quite possibly one of the best books I’ve read in my lifetime. I’m sitting here, an hour after finishing and I’m still mind blown, and quite honestly screaming internally.
The story follows Eve Dennett, Detective Gabe Hoffman, and Colin Thatcher and what happens in each of their lives upon the disappearance of Mia Dennett. The Dennett family is a well-to-do family in Chicago. James Dennett is a well-known Judge, his daughter Grace follows in his footsteps as a soon-to-be partner at a well known law firm, his wife Eve is all but a stay at home wife and mother who upholds the perfect image for the family, and Mia took a different road. She teaches art at an inner-city school and has basically cut herself off from her former life.
One day, Eve gets a call from one of Mia’s colleagues stating that Mia hasn’t shown up for work, or returned her calls. She’s worried something has happened, as is Eve. She knows something terrible has happened to her daughter. The Judge, however, is insistent that this is all but another one of Mia’s games. She’s ran away before, she was a troubled teen, she has distanced herself from her family. Detective Gabe Hoffman is put on the case when Eve calls the police. He’s determined to solve the case and bring Mia home alive, because if he doesn’t, his job could very well be on the line. Finally, Colin Thatcher. The mysterious man Mia meets at a bar and who ultimately ends up abducting her and taking her to a remote cabin in the middle of nowhere. The story is told from Eve, Gabe, and Colin’s perspective as time passes.
As we learn more about each of them and the circumstances surrounding Mia’s kidnapping, we learn that there is more than meets they eye to each of the characters. With different character perspectives and time jumps, this novel has everything it needs to succeed. The plot is simply what I stated above, and without giving away the tiniest of details, that is literally all I can touch on with the plot. Within the first 30 pages there is a moment I didn’t see coming, and when you think the book has came to a conclusion and you can relax, you’re wrong. The epilogue has me shaken to the core. I have been sitting at my desk screaming in my head at the final pages. Some things you read will be a lie. Kubica took a chance with this story, a big leap of faith, and my God it worked so well. I am so invested and the book is already over. I feel like I need to go back and read it again, because I know no matter what I read next I will be disappointed. This will be a tough act to follow.
The characters are written with so much depth. Eve Dennett is a caring, stoic mother. Almost Stepford Wives perfect. She has issues, yeah, but she loves her daughter and only wants to see her brought home safely. She has layers underneath the picture perfect face she wears for the sake of her husband’s reputation. All of those layers get revealed as the story goes on. Detective Gabe Hoffman starts out as nothing more than a man trying to do his job, and a hard one at that. It’s not everyday you get thrown into a high profile kidnapping case. The pressure on him is immense. Find the girl, bring her home. As the story progresses he’s no longer consumed by only wanting to do his job and get a pat on the back, but he’s emotionally invested in finding Mia alive. The antagonist is by far, shockingly enough, my favorite character. Colin Thatcher is the most well written character in the entire novel. He has roots, he’s written with eloquence. He has a back story, and trust me, you will care about him. You won’t even see him as a bad guy. Or, at least, I didn’t. With Mia, there is more than meets the eye. She isn’t just the privileged daughter of a rich judge, she isn’t shallow, and she is a hell of a lot smarter than you think she is.
I have absolutely nothing but good words to say about this. And to think that this was Mary Kubica’s FIRST novel. She knocked it out of the ball park with her debut novel, and I can’t wait to see what else she has to offer. With a story that takes chances like this one, and has twist after twist, and an ending that you won’t see coming, what’s not to love? Do yourself a favor and pick up a copy. I feel like I always advise on reading the books I review, but for the sake of everything in your life, do it. Don’t wait. When you start reading, don’t put it down. Not that I need to tell you that, you won’t want to.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5