Thursday, January 26, 2017

This Is Not Over

This Is Not Over by Holly Brown
HarperCollins: 1/17/17
eBook review copy; 400 pages
ISBN-13: 9780062456830

This Is Not Over by Holly Brown is a recommended novel (highly for the right reader) of domestic suspense.

Dawn Thiebold, 30, is incensed when she reads Miranda Feldt's email informing her that her security deposit, minus $200 for the stained sheets which had to be replaced, will be refunded to her within seven business days. Dawn and Rob, her husband, rented the Santa Monica beach house as a mini-vacation for Dawn to escape from her real life and pretend to be something better, something more than her reality. Dawn is always trying to outrun her past - as well as her complexion. Although she's married to a perfect man, they live in a tiny run-down apartment in Oakland. Dawn isn't working while she finishes her degree in communications, so essentially Miranda is stealing from her husband. She decides to write a negative review about renting Miranda's house because it did not live up to her fantasies.

Miranda rents out the Santa Monica beach house that she inherited from her parents (for $600 a day) because she needs the money. Sure her husband is a doctor and it appears that her life is one of privilege and ease, but appearances aren't everything. She needs that income for her son, Thad. She can't allow one bad review out about her property since it could threaten future income. The rental income is her only source of funds that she can siphon money from to send her son. She cannot allow Dawn's negative review to stay posted.

The chapters alternate between the two characters. Each chapter opens with some form of contact by one, and then the interpretation or misinterpretation of the communication by the other as she goes about her daily life. The chapters then provide insight into each woman. Slowly backgrounds and personal information is revealed which offers some explanation for their reactions. 

I really liked the concept of this book and could totally see how a partial return of a security deposit and a negative rating could send two people into battle mode. If you've ever worked closely with other people (on a job, sat on a board or a committee, in any service-industry, etc.) you've seen people get angry over various minor perceived injustices or opinions that differ from their own and have the discussions escalate into the absurd, ridiculous, and petty. The ability today to take these opinions and disagreements online and not in person (email, social forums, Facebook, twitter, texting, etc.) is a situation almost guaranteed to have some people go to extremes. I'm sure almost everyone has some stories to tell along this line; I know I have some great ones.

The problem I had with This Is Not Over lies neither with the writing, which is good, nor the initial hook. I started it and was eager to finish it. I had two problems with it. The first is that the characters are not likeable, and, in fact, were both a bit whinny and narcissistic.  It became increasingly difficult to care what happened to either of them - or their husbands. The second problem ties into the first. The novel started to feel repetitive and overly long. In the end, the promised suspense was pretty mild considering how minor disagreements can explode into huge battles anymore (see the local news).

Disclosure: My advanced reading copy was courtesy of HarperCollins.



1 comment:

Heather J @ TLC Book Tours said...

Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this book for the tour.