Mystery Books for Sale

[ Home ]
[ About | Reviews | Search | Submit ]


by Guillaume Musso
Back Bay Books, March 2021
336 pages
ISBN: 0316590959

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

Alice, a Parisian cop, wakes up from a night on the town to find herself handcuffed to an unknown man in New York City's Central Park. Thus begins a madcap trip down the rabbit hole that wouldn’t have surprised her namesake. She and the man to whom she is literally attached, Gabriel, race through the city trying to escape from the handcuffs as they figure out how they ended up in New York with no phones, no money, and numbers either written on a palm (hers) or carved into flesh (his).

By the time they have freed themselves from one another, they have decided to work together. Alice eventually connects with her friend, another policeman in Paris, who provides some information that helps her make sense of what is happening. It seems that a murderer from Alice's past has resurfaced and is out to get her if she and Gabriel don't find him first. As the pair spends hours together in a beat-up car heading from New York to Maine, where they believe the killer is located, Alice becomes increasingly unsure of Gabriel's intentions. She remembers nothing of how she got to New York, and her memory loss is disorienting and unsettling. Discrepancies in Gabriel’s story begin to add up, confusing her even more.

The plot climaxes around a huge twist, with memory playing a major role. This is where Alice's Wonderland turns very dark and threatens to end everything. Musso fills us in on what is truly going on though a combination of Alice's returning memories and a character's personal descriptions of events. The pace has been breakneck up to this point, giving the reader little time to question the evidence that has been developing. All of a sudden, however, the plot skids to a stop and Musso uses one of his characters to explain how all of the craziness makes sense.

This is a rather fitting ending to Central Park, which is written in a style that I will call "draft." The writing, which is most apparent at the very beginning of the book before the pace of the plot ramps up, almost feels like an outline. Musso uses partial sentences continuously and gives us the background of the characters and trajectory of the plot without much development. As Alice and Gabriel move through New York and then New England, we get snippets of description but, once again, nothing is fully developed. While this will not appeal to those who love character-driven thrillers, readers who appreciate a fast-paced immersive experience and don't mind a bit of disorientation will very much like this book. For me, having read and appreciated Musso's previous novel The Reunion, I look forward to his next book assuming he takes the time to flesh out the outline.

Reviewed by Sharon Mensing, March 2021

[ Top ]



Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

[ About | Reviews | Search | Submit ]
[ Home ]