Monday, April 1, 2019

BLOG TOUR: What She Gave Away by Catherine RIggs

Title: What She Gave Away
Author: Catherine Riggs
Genre: Suspense/Thriller
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
Release Date: September 4, 2018
Acquired: Print copy received for review
Goodreads: ADD

Revenge is anything but sweet in this twisty thriller about two women with very different lives locked in the same deadly game.

Imagining the best way to destroy a person’s happiness is Crystal Love’s favorite game. Devious and unpolished, the plus-sized loan analyst couldn’t be more out of place in her new town of Santa Barbara, where the beautifully manicured women never age and the ocean views stretch farther than the million-dollar lawns. And yet her eye for the power dynamics at play in this tony community is dead accurate.

Kathi Wright, on the other hand, has made it her life’s work to fit in with the plastic people who surround her. But when her husband—a wealthy bank president—dies suddenly, she’s left with nothing. Then the FBI shows up, asking questions she can’t answer and freezing assets she once took for granted.


While Kathi struggles to outrun the mess caused by her husband’s mysterious death, Crystal seems focused on her game. But why? And who are her targets?

Spanning two years and told in Crystal’s and Kathi’s alternating voices, this tautly plotted novel reveals the power of choice and the price of revenge.

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There's a lot this book was trying to be, but it unfortunately only managed to be a few of those things. What She Gave Away was readable, and definitely entertaining. I'll admit that I flew through it pretty quickly, was able to maintain satisfaction with the way it wrapped up, but the shock value just wasn't hard-hitting enough for what I've come to expect from my thrillers.

Crystal Love opens this one up with quite the line: "I've targeted the sperm donor". She goes on to detail her weight and the interview for a job we'll see her working in for much of the novel. We then move on to Kathi, the new widow of a wealthy bank owner. What She Gave Away alternates between the perspectives of these two ladies, as well as between the years of 2015 and 2016 (which boded well for about two chapters and then it was a flurry of flipping back and forth to remember what year and month we were hearing from). Their paths cross in an obvious way, but it soon begins an intertwining that isn't so expected.

The pacing was the saving grace for me. What She Gave Away read like the thriller/suspense novel that it was written to be, with the right amount of twists and an ending that was written for the big screen, but it all still felt..lacking. Crystal was too one-dimensional, and Kathi, painted to be slow and dense, would suddenly say something that conflicted heavily with that intent. I could have used more back-story, which simultaneously built character. I never felt more than mild to moderate concern for any character, could have had the story end in a multitude of ways and just shrugged and said: "hmm, okay, cool". 

However, this is a great read to start you off on your spring titles. One to get you ready to just sit out in the sun and do some quick reading while soaking up the rays we've waited all winter for.



Read if you like:  
The Forgetting Place by John Burley
Books by Chevy Stevens, Alafair Burke, or Shari Lapena

Key themes: 
loss, death, family, mental illness, magic realism



Challenges: 

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credit: goodreads.com (author page)


Catharine Riggs lives and writes on California’s central coast. Before turning to writing fiction, Riggs worked as a business banker, an adjunct college instructor, and a nonprofit executive. What She Never Said is the second novel in her Santa Barbara Suspense series. The first, What She Gave Away, was published by Thomas & Mercer in September of 2018. Riggs is a member of the International Thriller Writers, The Authors Guild, Sisters in Crime and Mystery Writers of America.

CONTACT LINKS 



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A huge thank-you to Thomas & Mercer for 
providing a hardcopy of this book for review