If you like thrillers, you may like TANGERINE. I don’t like them. I read GONE GIRL and THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN, but that was it. If I had realized that this book fell into that group – if I’d done my homework – I might not have read it. Thrillers upset me. Real life is full of crime and mystery and injustice. I don’t find it entertaining or enlightening.
Positives? TANGERINE is well written, perhaps overly written in both description and introspection, but I’ll give the author the benefit of that doubt. The prose is lavish, especially when describing Tangiers, where the story takes place. I could see the city, feel the city, taste it and smell it far more, actually, than I wanted. In this, too, though, I have to give the author credit. Her descriptions were innovative and varied.
Negatives? The characters. One was more disappointing than the next. I want to like my characters, want to be able to cheer them on. But these characters had so many annoying tics and deep, deep flaws that there was little to care about. And the plot? Whoa. If you like plots where the bad guy wins, this is your book. Personally, I found it a downer.
Why did I give it three stars rather than two or one? A short diversion by way of explanation. A reader received a free ARC of my new novel, BEFORE AND AGAIN, and gave it one star. Her comment? She thought it was going to be a thriller, and it was not. I resent that one-star review, which had nothing to do with the merit of the book and everything to do with the reader’s preconceived preference. I won’t do that to Christine Mangan. That said, I wasn’t sorry to see her book end.