Julie Mulhern’s “The Deep End” is billed as one of “The Country Club Murders” and there are more to come in this series. I don’t think I’m interested in reading further murder stories set in country clubs.
It’s not that Mulhern’s creation in “The Deep End” – Kansas City in 1974 isn’t intriguing and well laid out, because it is. It’s more that her characters are sort of one-note and flat, and that makes them unlikable – especially the ones I can tell I’m meant to like.
Ellison Russell is both the main character and the main example of this. She’s an artist from a filthy rich family who lives a privileged life and is very perturbed, and that really is the best word for it, when things get in the way of her life running smoothly. She reacts in much the same way to finding a dead body in the country club pool (and on her doorstep and in her driveway) as she does to the mere revelation that her husband is having an affair. It’s all a personal offense to her and yet she is absolutely dedicated to protecting the people who make her life hell. It’s clear that she’s perfectly happy with the life she complains about endlessly.
Somewhat naturally, the most likable person in “The Deep End” is the odd man/woman out of the cookie cutter world. This person turns out to be the “bad guy/bad girl” but this person is the one you understand the most. I get why s/he did they things that occurred in the book. I wouldn’t do them myself, because it’s absolutely horrible, but the motivation is fairly easily understood.
It’s probably not a good thing when the best character in the book is the “bad” one. It might be different if it were more a case of the character you love to hate, but even this character will be forgotten in a day or two.
“The Deep End” is available for purchase now.
(I received a copy of “The Deep End” through NetGalley in exchange for an honest & original review. This review will be cross-posted on my blog, on Goodreads, and at NetGalley.)
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