The Main Character

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A clever and turbulent story, paced largely by: an achingly slow character-driven build; a plot-driven puzzle that surfaces early, is tweaked and dangled and kept alive with tiny tantalizingly hidden clues (very much solvable, if the reader sticks with it); and a supremely chaotic, crazily consistent ending.

Our story is narrated by Ginevra, our main character, and interestingly, the only narrator, (of the five in this multi-POV book), who tells her tale in an arms-length, third-person voice. Ginevra is a fascinating enigma of a woman – a fabulously rich and successful Italian author, somewhat mysterious and reclusive, with an eccentric appearance, being short, a caftan enthusiast, and favoring Sophie Loren-style eyeliner, pancake makeup and purple-red hair.

Ginevra’s tried-and-proven formula is to base her murder-mystery stories on the real-life foibles and formative experiences of a “main character” who is in fact a live person (with a licensing contract in place) – allowing Ginevra to weave tales of observed passion and angst without exposing her own personal hidden truths.

As Ginevra spins her literary web around her new main character, Rory, a thirty-three year old former news anchor, bruised and battered both professionally and romantically, Ginevra’s incredibly intrusive prying extends to those nearest and dearest to Rory, including: the beautiful Caroline (Rory’s best friend); Max (Rory’s science-nerd turned hi-tech-CEO brother); and Nate (Rory’s ex-fiancé, he of the “soft blond curls and almond brown eyes“).

The plot, (Ginerva’s, as well as our author’s) now staged, unfolds theatrically, manipulated by Ginevra, as she arranges for her characters to experience an all-expense paid luxury train excursion on the extravagantly revamped Agatha Christie-esque Orient Express, a once-in-a-lifetime journey through the gorgeous western Italian coastline.

As secrets hinted at begin to wreak havoc, it will take a final flash of ingenuity to predict, and resolve, the who, what, when and why, as murder is dramatically freed from the pages (and stories, within the stories, are revealed and enacted).

A great big thank you to Netgalley, the author, and the publisher for an ARC of this book. All thoughts presented are my own.


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