Do thrillers have a problem with women? Do they have a problem with mental illness? How about both?
It’s impossible for me to discuss this book without putting that out there. This review will be fairly spoiler-rific, because so much hinges on that ending, one that was unfortunately all too predictable and all too common.
I’d love it if thrillers didn’t further victimize women already. I understand there’s a certain excitement in the stereotype of the crazy ex, the one whose motives are impossible to guess because she’s just that much of a loose cannon. But it’s 2018, and haven’t we moved past that? Apparently not.
Perhaps it would be more bearable if, a la Gone Girl, both parties came off equally bad. Don’t get me wrong- both Finn and Layla come off as being far from shining stars. Finn, I thought, was by far the worst, but the book seems rather quick to cover up problems that should give any young woman pause, from unpredictable anger resulting in violence to jealousy and mood swings. I would say it’s a matter of perspective, but more than half the book is Finn’s point of view, with the other half being Layla’s, yet it’s Finn who comes out as someone who should ostensibly be more sympathetic. Are we supposed to forget what an utter sleazebag he is? How scary those spurts of anger are?
Layla is clearly portrayed as the one more mentally unbalanced, though the reasoning behind her supposed ‘split personality’ (and oh, how I tire of the stereotypical view of that) easier to understand and less violent, less inclined towards actually almost killing someone. Of course, it’s Layla that pays the ultimate price, because as in real life, men in thrillers seem to get off Scott-free in almost every circumstance.
I’ll give the book a star for being readable- the writing is technically proficient and propels the story forward well. It’s just too bad the story is awful.