Writing: 4/5 Characters: 4.5/5 Plot: 4.5/5
Funny, acerbic, and irreverent (Lisa Lutz’ signature trio). The action follows two best friends — Luna Grey and Owen Mann. No, they never slept together; yes they are the most important people in each other’s lives.
The story spans time, bouncing between 2003 and 2019 with important (and weird, always weird) flashbacks to the familial primordial ooze from which each has sprung. Four murders — connected but not in the way you think — and an intricate web of secrets, trust, suspicion, and guilt pervade the narrative.
The plot is consistently surprising and the characters engaging — plenty to love and plenty not to love. The pages are full of bizarre details that help us deep dive on who Luna and Owen really are and how they became that way. As an aside, I love the way Lutz describes her minor supporting characters — deftly reducing them to one to two sentence descriptions that capture the essence of what they present to outsiders — it’s a talent.
I always have fun reading Lisa Lutz — I was a big fan of the Spellman Files, but I’m glad she is moving to stand alone stories as I think Izzy Spellman is at the point where she can’t acgtually develop any more without losing what makes her interesting in the first place — the Spellmans are spent!
A few fun quotes:
“Thinking about being good didn’t make you good. Sacrificing individual happiness didn’t make the world a better place.”
“Sam didn’t believe in using words to state the obvious, or fill up silence, or attempt to ease discomfort.”
“I don’t like it when you ask me to explain men to you, like I have special insight into lascivious behavior.”
“He wasn’t Teflon; closer to particleboard. He soaked everything, letting it warp him, become part of him.”
Once, Owen had tried to talk to the guy. He asked Mason what he did when he wasn’t smoking pot. Dude, that’s like a really personal question, was Mason’s response.”
“He was obsessed with variety, which Luna had only recently correlated with his inability to stay faithful.”
Thank you to Ballantine Books and NetGalley for providing an advance copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. The book will be published on January 25th, 2022.