Providence by Caroline Kepnes
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
When Jon Bronson disappears on the way to school one day, he leaves his best friend Chloe wondering what happened to him. Four years later, he wakes up in a basement, jacked up and with no memory of the past four years, only a copy of The Dunwich Horror with some notes written inside. Will Jon and Chloe be able to pick up where they left off?
This was a Netgalley pick. Edward Lorn and some other trusted reviewers have sung the praises of Caroline Kepnes in the past so I decided to take a chance.
Overall, I liked my first Caroline Kepnes experience. The shifting viewpoints between Jon, Chloe, and Eggs held my interest and a main character that gives people heart attacks is a pretty interesting hook in a story of unrequited love.
The book is promoted as a thriller but it's really about relationships and intimacy. Eggs and his wife, Jon and Chloe, Chloe and Carrig, all very different relationships between very different characters. Also, fuck Carrig! Since I've read a few hundred detective novels, I had a soft spot for Eggs and his obsession with The Beard.
And here's the part that I hated: fully 80% of the book could have been avoided if Jon had just emailed Chloe and said "I give people heart attacks. That's why I'm being a douche nozzle." Considering Jon mostly communicates by text and email anyway, this makes a lot more sense than torturing himself for the better part of a decade.
And now we're back at the other piece of bread in this complement sandwich of a review. While their situation was outlandish, I think Kepnes did a great job with the various characters. I had no trouble believing in Eggs, Chloe, or Jon. They were all very fleshed out acted like real people would in the situation, aside from the lack of communication I mentioned earlier. The Lovecraft connection was also well done. I've read the Dunwich Horror a couple times but I think someone could infer what they need to and not feel lost.
And here we are at the end of the review. I enjoyed Providence but it wasn't a game changer or something I felt like neglecting my health and/or personal hygiene to read. 3.5 out of 5 stars.
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