Books

Book 519: Claudia Must Die – T.B. Markinson

I’ve had a copy of this on my Kindle since February of 2015. I’m not sure why it took me this long to read it, but who knows with me. TBM was one of the first blogging buddies I made when I started to blog all those years ago.

One of the things we connected about was Boston. She’d recently left Boston and I’d recently moved to Boston. Little did I know that almost seven years later I’d read a book that was set on the same street where I work! Seriously, a good portion of this book takes place on the street and the block where I sat on a deck reading this during my lunch break.

The premise of this book is that the character Claudia is being hunted by her ex-husband’s henchmen and she picks a random college student who is her doppelgänger to be murdered instead of her. What happens next is a comedy of errors.

I won’t like I was a little disappointed in this book. I wanted so much more from it because I know TBM can do so much more! I went back to look at her other books I’ve read by her and they’re going in order, love, meh, love, meh. Maybe it’s just me and when I read them, or maybe it’s her strengths as a writer – I notices she’s jumped feet at her new site into Lesbian fiction which is great!

What bothered me the most about this book were the labels. TBM chose to continue to refer to the characters as “The Student” or “The Hunted” long after they’d been introduced and I get what she was going for but it just didn’t work for me. There was even one point where she introduced a bunch of random side characters to later tie into a character that honestly took away from the book for me (something about one-legged Jo or John).

The writing just felt labored at some points:

“Claudia trusted Francis more than Parker. She sensed that Parker wanted to snap her neck at the first available opportunity. When she first decided to invade Parker’s life, she thought the student had zero passion. Now she realized how wrong she was. Hatred bubbled under Park’s dull surface like a dormant geyser ready to spring back to life. How much longer until Parker exploded?” (70)

It’s not bad, just clunky.

But I will say TBM nailed us east-coasters in her description:

“Something odd happened. There were no awkward moments. Normally, Parker struggled with idle chitchat and came across as socially awkward—that was one of the reasons she liked living on the East Coast. People didn’t stop to chat. No one had time to talk, and they didn’t care about others. In fact, most would go out of their way to avoid human contact, even eye contact.” (28)

It might be a bit harsh, but it’s totally true!

Recommendation: Honestly, TBM has stronger works out there. The plot was intriguing and it’s short enough you can read it quickly (I definitely blazed through it). I really enjoyed the Boston portions and TBM did such a wonderful job writing about it that you really do feel like you’re there – trust me I was PHYSICALLY at some of these places when I read it!

Opening Line: “Claudia spotted her by accident.”

Closing Line: “He knew she wasn’t joking, merely asking out of intellectual curiosity. ‘That’s an interesting question…’ he replied.” (Whited out to avoid spoilers, highlight to read.)

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