Saturday, June 22, 2024


Ladykiller Katherine Wood
7/9/24; 368 pages
Random House/Bantam

Ladykiller Katherine Wood is a highly recommended debut mystery that has strong melodramatic soap opera sensibilities.

Gia and Abby became friends as children, along with Gia's younger brother Benny, because Abby's mother worked for Gia's very wealthy family. The family accepted Abby as one of their own, paid for her schooling including college, and opened up new experiences and opportunities for her. The two became even more bonded together after a tragic incident that happened when they were 18 on the family's beachfront estate on a Greek island. Gia's father, Hugo Torres, recently passed away, and left the Greek island estate to Gia.

Abby and Gia have become estranged recently, when Gia, undeterred by Abby's suggestion of caution, married Garrett after knowing him for just three months. Gia and Garrett are living on the island estate now, preparing it for sale. Abby is working fourteen-hour days as an attorney. When Gia invites Abby and Benny on an all-expenses-paid trip to Sweden to see the Northern lights and celebrate her 30th birthday, the two arrive, but Gia doesn't, texting excuses that leave them suspicious. The two set off to Greece to find Gia.

The narrative unfolds in alternating chapters that present the perspectives of both Abby and Gia. Abby's perspective is told through chapters set in the present and past. Gia's story is presented through a manuscript she is writing which purportedly describes events on the island estate leading up to her disappearance. Gia's story is of an entitled heiress living a lascivious life style. The real question becomes clear early on: Is Gia, as depicted in her manuscript, a trustworthy character or reliable narrator?

Ladykiller is a well-written debut novel that held my attention throughout. There are plenty of secrets and scandals unfolding throughout the plot. Expect some twists that may stretch credibility but should not deter you from reading. The ending, which doesn't offer a complete conclusion, will either offer readers an entertaining  opportunity to form their own opinions, or, alternately, slightly disappoint those who like closure. That, in itself, could start a lively book club discussion. Thanks to Bantam Books for providing me with an advance reader's copy via NetGalley. My review is voluntary and expresses my honest opinion.


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