Thursday, June 17, 2021

95 - 2021 The Maidens; Alex Michaelides

 

TITLE/AUTHOR:   The Maidens;  Alex Michaelides

PUBLISHER:  Celadon Books and Macmillan Audio

YEAR PUBLISHED: 2021

GENRE: Fiction / Psychological Thriller

FORMAT:  audio LENGTH: 9 hours 19 min.

SOURCE:  NetGalley

SETTING(s):  Cambridge, England

ONE SENTENCE SUMMARY:  A dark engrossing psychological thriller with a surprising climax.

BRIEF REVIEW:   Mariana Andros is a group therapist in London who is still mourning the loss of her husband Sebastian the prior year. She also has a patient who has been stalking her.  One day she receives a panic call from her niece Zoe who attends the university in Cambridge.  Zoe's friend Tara has been brutally murdered .   Mariana is Zoe's guardian and wants to be with her so she drops everything and takes a train to be with her niece. 

The murder of Tara is reminiscent of a Greek tragedy  and Mariana learns that Tara was a member of a secret campus group called "The Maidens."  It's a select group of beautiful, confident young women led by the popular and handsome Professor of Mythology, Edward Fosca who  soon becomes a prime suspect.  Mariana begins to snoop around and then another girl is dead, murdered in the same brutal fashion.  Mariana is sure Professor Fosca is involved somehow.  The local police are getting annoyed by Mariana and tell her to stay out of their business but, she's not giving up that fast. Then one day she receives the same type of postcard with a Greek tragedy quote as the other dead girls had received and, things heat up from there leading up to a surprising and satisfying ending.

There were several things I loved about this book. It had several suspicious characters, and number of red herrings to throw the reader off track. It also had a couple of familiar characters from The Silent Patient as well, but, this could certainly be read as a stand alone novel.  The audio book was fantastic with dual narrators: a female for Mariana's third person POV and a male voice of a deeply disturbed, possibly psychotic (unknown) man with troublesome childhood memories.  Although this one took a bit to get going, a slow-burn,  it quickly escalated into high gear. I was blown away with the final reveal.

I loved this author's last novel The Silent Patient so I couldn't wait to try this one.  If it hadn't been for the graphic events involving sheep and then a family dog, this would have been a perfect read for me. Why do authors need to spoil a good book by introducing a shock factor involving animals? I felt I had to take off a star because of this.

Thanks go to Macmillan Audio and NetGalley for allowing me to download this audiobook  at no cost in exchange for my unbiased review.  

RATING:  4/5

26 comments:

  1. I agree. Introducing violence for shock value, especially with animals, can dampen my enthusiasm, as well. It is still on my list, but I'm not as eager as I was.

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    1. I just hate when that happens and, it's even more troublesome when I am invested in the story when it happens.

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  2. That one sounds like it is well worth reading!

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  3. I really liked The Silent Patient too and I'm looking forward to reading this one. Sounds like a good one. As to the animal cruelty, I have no idea why.

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    1. Kay, both were good stories but, I was shocked how graphic and gory it got.

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  4. Whenever mysteries involve a secret campus society it always makes me perk up and want to give them a read. :)

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  5. I have wondered about this book and based on your review, I think I will have to add it to my reading list. I liked The Silent Patient, too, although not as much as some did.

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    1. It's a good story that held my interest until the unexpected violence against animals.

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  6. I know we aren't supposed to judge a book by its cover, but I have had no interest in this one as it seems like a "classic" and I had no idea it is a murder mystery! :-)

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    1. LOL - yes, that cover made me think it was a Greek Tragedy but, it's not - a good story spoiled by very violent animal abuse.

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  7. Yeah I can relate about the animal treatment ... I don't like that either.

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    1. I think author's use it too often. I stopped reading Joe Hill's books for the same reason but, there have been others and, I appreciate when bloggers/reviewers mention it as I'll steer clear.

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  8. I was all set to get a copy but then I read about the sheep and dog. Can't take stuff like that.

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  9. Nope, we'd never read that one either. I will look up the corporate officers on the web and email them about animal hate.

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    1. I'm glad I'm seeing others who feel as strongly as I do about this subject. It's just wrong!

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  10. I think I'll give The Silent Patient a try instead.

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  11. I was about to put this one my TBR but the animal cruelty swayed me the other way. Also, the plot sounds a lot like Donna Tartt's The Secret History, which I actually didn't like, but I do like the premise of this a lot. Maybe I will read The Silent Patient and see how it goes.

    Excellent review!

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    1. It's not really like The Secret History from what I recall of that one but I'm glad you feel strongly against using animal abuse in books.

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  12. This one sounds interesting, for sure. Sometimes I think that authors include animal abuse in their darkest stories because they know how deeply shocked most readers are by that kind of thing. It's almost too easy for them.

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    1. It was a good story but, spoiled by unnecessary gore and violence IMO.

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  13. It's hard when there is animal cruelty. When I read Salvage the Bones there was a horrific dog fighting scene that I could barely skim. BUT I could see the reason it was in there. When it's thrown in a book unnecessarily it ruins the book for me.

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    1. Yes, well, this particular guy (unnamed) had a horrible childhood yet, and it was in reference to things his violent father had done.

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  14. I still haven't read The Silent Patient; and this book has definitely piqued my curiosity. I think I'll most likely skim through the part on animal cruelty.

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