I enjoy unraveling a story and figuring out what motivates characters and this story is full of things to analyze. While the The Good Girl is a bit of a mystery, I’d describe it more as a psychological thriller in which the main players are good and bad, have grown up in dysfunctional families and have complicated ideas about love and family.
The story begins when Mia Dennett, a 24-year-old art teacher, doesn’t show up for work. Her father, James Dennett, a wealthy and influential judge in Chicago, uses his connections to build an investigative team. Then he goes back to work while Mia’s mother Eve sits at home and worries. Gabe Hoffman is the detective on the case. He has a chip on his shoulder and is determined to find Mia if for nothing else than to improve his credibility.
Because the book is structured with a “Before” and “After”, the reader knows a little about its resolution, however, the “After” is full of complications, some of them predictable and some surprising. It is told through the points of view of Eve, Gabe and Colin, the man responsible for Mia’s disappearance, and it isn’t until late in the book that the reader begins to fully understand her.
I enjoyed most of the story, bought into Mia’s character and developed sympathy for Colin, however, I don’t think the ending’s surprise twist fits the story.
But the author’s poor decision to describe the previously unseen villain in the Epilogue as “black, like the blackest of black bears, like the blubbery skin of the killer whale” ruins what could have been an entertaining read.
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