Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Review of "My Girl" by Jack Jordan

Paige is on a self-destructive slide that she seems unable to control. Paige's 14-year-old daughter Chloe was abducted and killed ten years ago, and Paige had to bury an arm - the only part of Chloe that was found. Now Paige's husband Ryan, unable to cope with his grief, has committed suicide.

Paige, already distraught, is completely upended by Ryan's desertion. She drinks bottle after bottle of wine, lives on sedatives and pain killers, and smokes too much. Paige's house is filthy - covered with empty bottles, smelly ashtrays full of cigarette butts, soiled clothes, and dried vomit. Paige doesn't eat much, hardly showers, drives drunk, gets arrested, and performs humiliating sex acts with her doctor to get extra pills.

The author's depiction of Paige as a grief-stricken drunk/drug addict are very authentic, and I empathized with her pain.

Paige's relatives try to help. Her mother-in-law Greta, who has a house key, brings food and tidies the home. Paige's brother Maxim - a pastor - bails her out of jail and provides casseroles. And Paige's father offers to help clean out Ryan's home office. While emptying Ryan's desk Paige discovers a gun and a secret cell phone in a hidden compartment. What?? Why would Ryan have a gun? Paige's attempts to learn the truth get her into bad trouble.

Meanwhile, strange things are happening in Paige's house. She wakes up to old videos of Chloe playing on the TV; all of Ryan's clothing and possessions disappear; Ryan's face is cut out of all the photos, including albums; and then there's a fire. Is Paige doing this herself, in a drunken stupor? Is she going crazy? Is Paige's mother-in-law the culprit?

All this leads to Part 2 of the book, which starts with a bang. For me, the second section of the book is less successful than the first. I don't want to give away spoilers so I'll just say that the characters behave in a fashion that's completely inauthentic and unbelievable. Moreover, this part of the story feels like a derivative version of other books I've read. Finally, the finale doesn't wrap up the loose ends that have to do with Ryan.

From other reviews I know that lots of people really liked this book. For me though, it was just okay (and that's mostly because I think Part 1 was well-written). I would mildly recommend the book to thriller/mystery fans.

Thanks to Netgalley, the author, and the publisher for a copy of this book.

Rating: 2 stars

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