Wednesday, June 5, 2019


Temper by Layne Fargo
Gallery/Scout Press: 7/2/19
eBook review copy; 352 pages
ISBN-13: 9781982106720 

Temper by Layne Fargo is a recommended dark psychological thriller set amidst the theater scene.
Chicago actress Kira Rascher has landed a great role in a new play, Temper. The drawback is that the play is being put on at the Indifferent Honest Theater Company and this means she will be working with the toxic director and actor Malcolm Mercer. Joanna Cuyler is the partner and roommate of Malcolm. She knows Malcolm's problems, but she also does not like Kira and sees her as a threat. Kira knows the stories and has been warned about Malcolm, but she is sure she can handle him.
This is a dark story with the narrative alternating between Joanna's and Kira's point-of-view. The alternating narrative helps escalate the tension, documenting the chain of turbulent events that builds up to an inevitable ending. The writing is meritable in this debut thriller and Fargo creates a toxic world for all of her characters. The ending is predestined and unavoidable, which makes the ending predictable, but not shocking or surprising, especially after pages of knowing the inner thoughts of Joanna and Kira.
None of the characters are likeable or trustworthy at all. Both Kira and Joanna are suffering from the repercussions of Malcolm's manipulation and abuse. As the stakes increase, the chapters get shorter, helping to make the pace quicken and the tension rise even faster. The setting is the indie theater scene and these people are basically foreign to my life, which made it easier for me to keep saying, "Leave this behind. Why are you tolerating this?" as I was reading. Finishing does require you to not question why these women would tolerate any of the abuse.
Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of Gallery/Scout Press.

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