by Paullina Simons
I saw a lot of mixed reviews of this book before deciding to read it. I didn't read any of the positive ones, only the negatives, and I think that is why I was able to enjoy it as much as I did.Summary: Everyone at Dartmoth College knows Kristina Kim, Conni Tobias, Albert Maplethorpe and Jim Shaw. Attractive, intelligent and poised for brilliant futures, they are campus elite, and ever since freshman year, they've been inseparable--almost like family. Led by the beautiful, spirited and enigmatic Kristina, they share an intimacy others envy.
But it is more than camaraderie that unites the friends. Dark and seductive secrets bind the four to one another--intense passions and simmering tensions that have been building for years. When those passions finally explode the dead of a bitter cold night, a brutal act will be committed--one that will reveal shocking truths about each of them...
The Bronze Horseman is the only other Paullina Simons book I'd read before this one, but that book is one of my all time favourite books. So basically, this book had a lot to live up to and the fact that the stories were so wildly different could've easily made this one a disappointment. But, because I had read the negative reviews and went into it knowing what to expect and what not to expect, it made it easier not to measure it against her other book that I loved so much.
Sorry, that was quite a lot of rambling to make a short point: I really enjoyed this book.
It should be noted that I don't read many crime novels (not sure why really), so I'm not really the best judge of whether it's one of the better ones the genre has to offer. But as a crime novel newbie, I liked it a lot.
There were things about it that were frustrating--like, for example, it was longer than it needed to be (seems to be the authors thing though, her other books are long too) and sometimes the dialogue was a bit off (mostly because it was like she was deliberately making them be cryptic and hint at things and it didn't always seem natural), but I couldn't put the book down.
From start to finish, I wanted answers. I wanted to keep reading to know the full story of Kristina's life. The relationships she had were pretty toxic, to the point where it was baffling that those were people she considered to be her closest friends, but it was weirdly fascinating reading all about her screwed up life and screwed up relationships even if by the end I still couldn't figure out why she would care so much about those three people (one of them is a bit more understandable, but the other two? I just don't get it).
Also, as I mention way too much, I'm not into switching POV's unless it's done really well and it was done really well here. I loved that we got to know Kristina before the detective's POV took over, I loved that those few chapters made me care enough about her character to want to keep reading. So yeah, this was dual narration done well.
Anyway, I'd rate the book 4 stars out of 5. The book had it's flaws, but I enjoyed it from start to finish (the last few pages--before the epilogue--were the weakest part, a bit on the WTF side, but not awful). If you've read The Bronze Horseman, don't go into this one expecting something similar because they're worlds apart. I'll definitely be checking out some of the authors other books now.