Temper by Layne Fargo
Gallery/Scout Press: 7/2/19
eBook review copy; 352 pages
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.
My review copy was courtesy of Gallery/Scout Press.