Below stairs.
Thursday Article: Take that, State of Wonder.

A disappointing thriller.

FaceI do not read a lot of thrillers or a lot of fiction, but if I see new books out by an author I've previously enjoyed, I'll almost always give it a try. This was the case with Eli Gottlieb's new suspense novel, The Face Thief.

Earlier I had read and enjoyed, although I can't remember a thing about its plot, Gottlieb's novel Now You See Him. Like, really enjoyed. Not only on a thriller level but also on a literary level. In this new book, Gottlieb is similarly ambitious with the plotlines and style. The book is about a young woman named Margot, who develops her skills of reading and manipulating people. Ostensibly she does this primarily to men, primarily to wreck their lives (she runs a scam to bilk one man out of his retirement nest egg, and ruins another's marriage), but I don't feel the author ever really gave a compelling reason for why she was doing so, outside of the usual "rocky childhood" issues (the words used on the book jacket, not mine).

The style of the book is ambitious, with several storylines coming together in the end--an internal monologue of Margot's, as she recovers from a serious head injury, and two others told from the points of view of two of her victims. And it did keep me reading. But I did not find the ending particularly satisfying and throughout I never felt like Margot was developed as anything other than a blank evil slate. The book is short--248 pages--and reads quickly (I'm actually surprised it was that long, I had the idea it was much shorter), so I wouldn't have minded another fifty pages or so if the author could have wrapped things up a bit more satisfactorily. I'd say pass on this one--read Now You See Him instead.

*And I found one of the victims to be a complete dick. I was rather cheering for Margot to best him, myself.