Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Totally Killer by Greg Olear

Totally Killer by Greg Olear
2009, William Morrow Paperbacks

Synopsis: Taylor Schmidt—twenty-three, single, and jobless—arrives in the Big Apple desperate for work and hungry for love. Through the Quid Pro Quo Employment Agency she finds the perfect job and the perfect boyfriend . . . but perfection has its price.

The Good: Totally Killer is set in the 1990s, which leads to some fun references for those of us who experienced them firsthand. It's very premise, set around the employment agency, is a wonderful idea and could have been gold if handled differently.

The Bad: The characters aren't the least bit sympathetic, which is unfortunate in a novel where we should care that one of them is dead. Telling the story from Todd's point of view well in the future, looking back on the events, was risky and never worked for me. It makes no sense, his tone while telling the story doesn't betray the ending. While it keeps the suspense, it's not plausible he'd tell the story the way he did given his own experiences. Never mind the fact that one would expect a storyteller to make himself seem less like an complete loser. He speaks of all the creepy things he does in his lust for Taylor, all the ways he completely ruined his life just to get to know her better and more, all without a whiff of the shame one would expect years down the line. This was a great idea that just took every wrong turn it could find.

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