ABOUT THE BOOK
She's back in her affluent hometown for the first time in years and determined to unravel the secrets of her mother's death hidden in the unpublished memoir she left behind...even if it kills her... After her troublemaker mother's mysterious death, Kira fled her wealthy Texas town and never looked back. Now, decades later, Kira is invited to an old frenemy's vow renewal party. Though she is reluctant to go, there are things calling her back . . . like chilled wine and days spent by the pool . . . like her sexy childhood crush, Jack. But, more importantly, it's the urgent texts from her grandmother who says she has something to give Kira. Something about her mother's death, something that looks an awful lot like murder. When her grandmother gives Kira a memoir that her mother had been working on before she died, she is pulled into the past and all of the sizzling secrets that come along with it. With few allies left in her gossipy, country club town, Kira turns to Jack for help. As she gets closer to what--and who--might have brought about her mother's end, it becomes clear that someone wants the past to stay buried. And Kira might be next.
GUEST REVIEW BY SOPHIA ROSE
Opening Lines: “Midmorning sunlight winks through the glass-slat windows, but I’m still lying in bed, the black paper invitation shouting at me from across the room.”
Years after a beautiful, talented artist’s death, her youngest daughter is still convinced Sadie did not take her own life. Author May Cobb’s work is new to me, but one glimpse of the striking cover and a blurb that tugged at my curiosity had me poised to dive into A Likeable Woman, told in dual timeline between mother and daughter.
A Likeable Woman is a standalone that falls in the Domestic Thriller genre. I’m not generally drawn to this shelf in the mystery category, but I’m so glad I gave it a chance because May Cobb’s style of combining Kira’s present day narrative with her mother’s memoir in the past, reminded me a great deal of old-style romantic suspense in tone and plotting.
Kira is mostly treading water in her life, having never recovered from her mother’s death; her mother, Sadie, struggles as a housewife and mother, only feeling fulfilled as an artist. As the story progresses, there are obvious parallels between Kira and Sadie, sharing their love for art, sensitive nature, challenges as women who are not thought to be normal, and loving unavailable men.
The slow-build of Kira coming home, supported by her only real childhood friend who she has crushed on all her life, to an estranged family and the smiling and smarmy group of her high school circle, paired with anonymous threatening texts and the feeling of being watched, created the right thrilling atmosphere. There is an ominous feeling in both Kira's and Sadie’s narrative threads as the book marches toward the conclusion.
I’m not sure why I cottoned to the truth about the killer--just a feeling I got about half-way through the story. I didn’t know the motive, but this didn’t diminish my engagement with the story. If anything, I was even more scared for Kira as she dug in.
In summary, A Likeable Woman was a solid read and harkened back to old-style suspense. I liked how the author developed the characters and casts, touching on some darker, sadder issues while driving to the big money moment at the end. I would definitely read more of May Cobb’s work and recommend this to those who enjoy Domestic Thrillers. 4 stars.
Publisher: Berkley, Published: 7.11.23, Pages: 384
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
May Cobb is the award-winning author of The Hunting Wives, My Summer Darlings, and Big Woods. Like her previous novels, her most recent thriller, A Likeable Woman, is set in the lush, eerie piney woods of East Texas where she's originally from. The Hunting Wives was a Book of The Month Club Selection, an Amazon Editor's Pick, and has been optioned for film/tv. My Summer Darlings was also an Amazon Editor's Pick, and was named the "Best Summer Thriller" by The Today Show, and A Likeable Woman is one of Oprah Daily's "Best Summer Reads." Cobb earned her M.A. in Victorian Literature from San Francisco State University, following which she lived in Los Angeles where she worked for the actress Lolita Davidoich and her husband, filmmaker/writer Ron Shelton. Her essays and interviews have appeared in The Washington Post, The Rumpus, Good Housekeeping, and Texas Highways, and she currently lives in Austin with her family.
ABOUT SOPHIA ROSE, REVIEWER
Sophia is a quiet though curious gal who dabbles in cooking, book reviewing, piano-playing, and gardening. Road trips and campouts, museums and monuments, restaurants and theaters are her jam. Encouraged and supported by an incredible man and loving family. A Northern Californian transplant to the Great Lakes Region of the US. Lover of Jane Austen, Baseball, Cats, Scooby Doo, and Chocolate.
As a lifelong reader, it was inevitable that Sophia would discover book blogs and the joy of blog reviewing. In 2012, she submitted her first book review and is currently an associate reviewer.
Sophia is a prolific reader and audiobook listener which allows her to experience so many wonderful books, authors, and narrators. Few genres are outside her reading tastes, but her true love is fiction particularly history, mystery, sci-fi, and romance. Though, sorry, no horror or she will run like Shaggy and Scooby.