Sunday, October 8, 2017

Best Day Ever

Best Day Ever by Kaira Rouda
Graydon House: 9/19/17
eBook review copy; 352 pages
ISBN-13: 9781525811401

Best Day Ever by Kaira Rouda is a highly recommended psychological thriller.

Paul Strom and his wife, Mia, leave their two sons with a sitter and head to their lake house for a relaxing romantic get-away weekend for two. Paul is a successful advertising executive. He and Mia live an enviable life in a large house located in a wealthy suburb. Paul describes this day, the day they are driving to their vacation, as the best day ever. As they drive, he tells us that they are a perfect family; Mia is a perfect wife for him and he is a perfect husband and father. Mia hasn't been feeling well lately and Paul wants this weekend to be a time of relaxation and a perfect vacation just for them.

As the two travel, Paul narrates the novel, telling us about his life, his expectations, and his marriage. Paul has such high hopes for the weekend, and even though there is tension between the two, he is sure this weekend will fix everything, but Mia's mood seems to be worsening. She is upset by a phone call he had to take before they left, and she doesn't want to listen to his carefully selected playlist.  As Paul talks about his life and their marriage, soon it becomes clear that everything isn't quite as perfect as Paul describes it. And, along the way, Mia seems to becoming more and more obstinate and petulant. Perhaps the Strom's life isn't quite as perfect as Paul would have us believe.

This is a very well-written page-turner that will have you compulsively reading "just one more chapter" right up to the end. The chapters show the time of day that the action takes place as the book is set over a twenty-four hour period of time. Having Paul narrate the novel is a brilliant choice as his perfect veneer slowly starts to expose cracks, dents, and holes as the narrative progresses and he reveals himself as an unreliable narrator.  And, through Paul's narrative, readers are going to surmise more about Paul's plans than he realizes. The tension begins to mount and becomes palatable as Paul's plans for the Best Day Ever start to unravel.

This portrait of a modern-day psychopath and narcissist is a brilliant thriller/suspense novel. Best Day Ever held my rapt attention from beginning to end. Only one small part toward the end held my rating back a bit.

Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of Graydon House.

1 comment:

Vicki said...

This sounds really good! I put a copy on hold at my library.