The cover of this book is so eye-catching, wouldn’t you agree? Yes, that’s what caught my attention first, then having read the blurb I knew that this was the type of book I would like to read. Having read the book now, I appreciate the cover more because it’s not just there to be pretty. Well done, book designer and author!
The Good Ones is about Nicola Bennett who, after nearly twenty years, comes back to her Appalachian hometown to finally shed some light on the disappearance of her friend Lauren Ballard. Lauren mysteriously vanished one night and the last time Nicola saw her was when she was keying someone’s car. The next day, she was gone, there were traces of blood and signs of struggle. Nicola believes that going back to her hometown and getting a job there will help her uncover more information relating to her friend’s sudden disappearance.
“What choice did you have, after all, when the person who had stood at the center of your sense of self wasn’t there anymore? You grew around that loss like a tree wrapped in barbed wire. You let it bite into you. You shaped yourself to the new reality, until it was hard to tell what was you and what was the hole she’d left.”
What I found to be most interesting when it comes to The Good Ones was the mystery surrounding the disappearance of Lauren and how we got to see the main character investigate many possible leads and explanations as to what might have happened to her because it lead the reader to many interesting possibilities. The book being set in a small town provides the author with tools to go in-depth when it comes to examining the characters and what role they play in it. I feel like the author did a good job when it comes to showing us each character and their role in the book. Our main protagonist Nicola is a character one doesn’t sympathize with very much (at least in my case), I found her willingness to find out the truth to be more about herself rather than truly getting the answers she was looking for and putting the whole story to rest. When it comes to certain twists, I have to say that I enjoyed them, although some were very predictable and they made me want to yell at the main character, I was pleasantly surprised by other twists though. The author knows how to write and create an engaging story which I find to be very important in these kinds of books. What surprised me was the ending! Although I had a feeling that something wasn’t right in my judgement, I was pleasantly surprised by the last twenty pages!
“It was always a surprise how vulnerable people were in sleep, even the ones who showed you almost nothing of themselves during the daylight hours.”
The Good Ones has everything I look for in a mystery novel and I found it to be completely enjoyable! If you’re someone who likes reading thriller/mystery books I’d recommend adding this one to your TBR!
I would like to thank the publisher (Harper Books) for providing me with an advance reader’s copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions reflected in this review are my own and aren’t influenced by the fact that I got this book for free from the publisher.
The Good Ones by Polly Stewart comes out on June 6th 2023 from Harper Books
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Polly Stewart is the author of The Good Ones, forthcoming from Harper Books in June 2023. As Mary Stewart Atwell, she’s also the author of Wild Girls (Scribner 2012). Her essays have appeared in the New York Times and Poets & Writers, among other publications. She runs the Craft of Crime Fiction interview series, formerly published on Fiction Writers Review and now appearing on Instagram.