I’m teetering between three and three and a half stars for this book. I think that when I picked it up I expected more light, witty commentary and humorous anecdotes about life in the White House. There are some humorous stories, but there are also a lot of amazing, frustrating, and sad stories. It’s less of a humorous book and more of a general memoir/self-help tome, which I discovered partway through (and which reminded me to read book jackets more carefully whilst still at the library to avoid false expectations!).
I think that In the House in the Dark of the Woods is one of those books that people will either rate very lowly (and possibly shelve as DNF), because they find it too weird and nonsensical; or rate very highly, and write long reviews praising the genius of the author in crafting it.
God, did I want to love this book. I mean, just look at that cover! I’m somewhere in the middle, though, at two and a half stars. I did actually finish the book at least, though this is partly due to the fact that it’s so short. But throughout, and afterward, I kept saying “What the hell did I just read?”
One ordinary night, Emma and Cass Tanner disappear. They drive to the beach and seemingly dissolve into thin air. Or maybe only Emma goes to the beach—there’s nothing to say Cass was actually with her. Or maybe they never made it to the beach, though how else do you explain Emma’s shoes left so neatly at the edge of the water?
That’s not where the story begins, however. It begins on another night, three years later, when Cass Tanner reappears. She has a story to tell about what happened that night, and where she’s been for the past three years. Or maybe she’s gotten some of the details confused, and this memory is a product of a shattered mind. Or maybe she’s flat out lying—something about her story doesn’t sound right to Abby, the FBI psychologist who worked the original case and now returns to interview Cass.
Or is it?
I absolutely love unreliable narrators. It’s fun retracing my steps to see all the ways they fooled me, the reader. I love guessing at whether they’re being truthful and if not, whether they even realize as much. It adds a delightful layer of mystery to a standard whodunit and increases the tension as I try to decide if I should in fact be suspicious of the hero/ine, rather than cheering them on.
The Last Time I Lied uses the concept of an unreliable narrator to further the drama surrounding an unsolved disappearance as murky as the waters of the lake at Camp Nightingale, where a trio of teen girls vanishes without a trace. The last person to see them is thirteen-year-old Emma Davis, who watches the girls tiptoe out of their shared cabin late one night, never to return.
The Escape Room intrigued me because of the premise: four hotshot investment bankers are lured to an abandoned office complex under the premise of participating in a team-building “escape room” exercise. Instead, they’re locked in an elevator, where clues and hints about their pasts create an atmosphere of suspicion.
Who among them knows more than they’re letting on? Is it Vincent, alpha male and full of secrets? Sylvie, bitter over the unfair assessment of her worth versus that of her male peers? Or could it be Sam or Jules, both cash-strapped and desperate to outshine the competition in a season of small bonuses and large layoffs?
And what does their plight have to do with a long-gone colleague named Sara, whose POV is intercut with the elevator scenes?