The Good Girl
Mary Kubica, 2014
When Mia Dennett waits at a bar for her no-show boyfriend, she meets a charming young man named Owen. On impulse, Mia decides to leave the bar with him. What Mia doesn’t realize is that Owen is really Colin Thatcher, the man hired to kidnap her for ransom. But when Colin has a change of heart about delivering Mia to his ruthless boss, he decides instead to hide her away in an isolated cabin in the woods, at least until he can figure out a plan to get them both out of the country. Meanwhile, Mia’s parents and a dedicated cop assigned the case, will do whatever they can to find her.
This book was a little hard to follow at first, with the “Before” and “After” chapters, mainly because it took a few pages to figure out what event “Before” and “After” referred to. But once that became clear enough, I really began to like the format. I also liked that. aside from the final chapter, none of the chapters were told from the point of view of Mia. We had chapters from the points of view of the cop, Eve – Mia’s mother, and Colin Thatcher, but we really didn’t get a good feel for what Mia was feeling, except for what others thought about her.
While I’m not a big fan of the amnesia plot device in general – it often feels like a cop-out – I didn’t mind it too much here. Going back and forth between the time when Mia was with Colin and the time when Mia was home with her mother, after being rescued, when she didn’t remember anything. we were still able to get a good feel for events, even though the actual event of how Mia got away from Colin was always shrouded in mystery. The fact that Mia didn’t remember anything didn’t completely take away from the story, because we got a lot of the blanks filled in for us by the cop and by Eve.
I thought that the characters were very well-developed for this type of mystery/thriller. Even Mia, who always remained a little elusive, since we never saw things from her point of view, still had a good amount of depth to her. I particularly liked Gabe – the cop – and thought that his character was very well done.
What surprised me about this book is that every time it started to feel like it was getting predictable, it would pull something out that I wasn’t expecting. There were plenty of predictable elements – like the Stockholm Syndrome-esque relationship between Mia and Colin – but they were done well enough and the author threw in enough tricks that I never found myself bored by it.
Finally, and without giving away any spoilers, I liked the way the author chose to end the book. We were finally given a chapter from Mia’s point of view, and it showed us something that I really wasn’t expecting.
Overall, this is a really well-done thriller that I think fans of the genre would really like. While it doesn’t have much in common with books like Gone Girl, I think that fans of that book would find a lot to like about this book as well.