This book was problematic for the group. While it shows that Burke has inherited her father’s gift for telling a compelling story, and takes advantage of her own knowledge of crime as an attorney, the individual elements were implausible in some cases, and the characters were not particularly appealing. That being said, we felt that the characters were believable and realistic, as was their New York setting.
We also felt that the novel took on a large number of topics: the nature of friendship, trust, dysfunctional families, bullying and peer pressure (with the Becca Stevenson sub-plot) and abuse. The strongest elements were those that involved the con perpetrated against the heroine, Alice. While its resolution pushed many folks’ suspension of disbelief, it was enjoyable, twisting roller-coaster of a resolution!
We talked about the fact that this was the author’s first stand-alone novel, and wondered if the fact that she only had the one novel to include everything she wanted in the story contributed to some of the problems we had with the many strands, and how they worked out. We gave her a lot of credit for achieving her own readership, and how that had to be difficult when her father is so well-known – not unlike the heroine and father in this story. We agreed that she was a writer we’d be willing to try again, but that we might want to try either her series, or a more recent stand-alone to see how she has progressed as a writer.