Review: The Good Girl by Mary Kubica

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★★½

Harlequin MIRA | 2014

Filed Under: I was playing mindlessly on my phone.


After all of the glowing reviews I’ve read for Mary Kubica, this was actually a disappointment. Whomp, whomp.

Someone has paid to have Mia kidnapped. Colin, her kidnapper, is hired to do the dirty work. But instead of taking her to his boss, he whisks Mia away to a remote cabin and keeps her for himself.

As one would if they were kidnapping another human being.

My god, doesn’t it just seem like SO MUCH WORK? Who would want to kidnap someone?

Like, I get home from work and all I want to do is take off my bra and lay face down on my mattress while I make exhausted noises and eventually my husband asks me what’s wrong and I can trick him into rubbing my back.

The last thing I want to do is come home from work and have to take care of a person chained up in my basement. Getting their dirty, unwashed ass on stuff. Then you have to empty their piss pots and make their food?

No, thank you. You have to be a special kind of psychopath to want to abduct someone for the “joy” of getting to take care of an adult-sized baby.

But I digress…

Told in three parts – Colin, Mia’s mother and the detective on the case – the story bounces back and forth between Mia being missing and Mia being found. Mia’s perspective is saved for the epilogue. A little twist ending that I enjoyed (if you’re paying attention you can figure it out beforehand), but overall, without Mia being given a voice, the events that happened to her feel detached and impassive.

While I usually like novels that pull off the before/after trope, this time around it just didn’t have the same punch. The prose was average when it should have been vibrant and sharp. And the story itself – the clues, the “twists,” the climax and small reveals – were tame and uninspired.

The characters were pretty awful. I couldn’t drum up much emotion for them. The mother was annoying, the detective was a silly caricature of what a detective should be, and Colin was a dud. He was written, seemingly, to be brooding and dark, but I found myself rolling my eyes at him extra hard at how much time he took to get the perfect “brooding” stubble beard. Being damaged is so sexy, you need the right aesthetic.

The pacing of events felt clunky, resulting in a story that moved pretty slowly along with the ho-hum characters, who lacked depth and unique voices. (There’s also some subtle racism which felt lazy and unnecessary.)

I’m not saying it was a bad novel, but feeling indifferent once it’s over is usually a bad sign for me. There wasn’t anything special about this.  It’s been done before and done better. The themes, especially, have been beaten to death. It’s true what they say – there are no new ideas. And every writer has a different take on the same old ones, so sometimes that personal interpretation results in nothing special. And other times it results in the best book I’ve ever read. This lacked that kick-to-the-face I want when I read. It didn’t elicit much more than a shoulder shrug from me.

🔪🔪🔪


I’ve been following her for the past few days. I know where she buys her groceries, where she works. I don’t know the color of her eyes or what they look like when she’s scared. But I will.

One night, Mia Dennett enters a bar to meet her on-again, off-again boyfriend. But when he doesn’t show, she unwisely leaves with an enigmatic stranger. At first Colin Thatcher seems like a safe one-night stand. But following Colin home will turn out to be the worst mistake of Mia’s life. 

When Colin decides to hide Mia in a secluded cabin in rural Minnesota instead of delivering her to his employers, Mia’s mother, Eve, and detective Gabe Hoffman will stop at nothing to find them. But no one could have predicted the emotional entanglements that eventually cause this family’s world to shatter.

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