This book was published on 21st April 2016 and is available in paperback and e book. My thanks to the publisher Faber & Faber who sent me a review copy.
Twenty-two-year-old Charlotte Ford reconnects with Danielle, her best friend from high school, a few days before Danielle is found bludgeoned to death in a motel room. In the wake of the murder, Charlotte's life unravels and she descends into the city's underbelly, where she meets the strippers, pornographers and drug dealers who surrounded Danielle in the years they were estranged.
Ginsburg's Houston is part of a lesser known south, where the urban and rural collide gracelessly. In this shadowy world, culpability and sympathy blur in a debut novel which thrillingly brings its three female protagonists to the fore. Scary, funny and almost unbearably sad, Sunset City is written with rare grace and empathy holding you transfixed, praying for some kind of escape for Charlotte.
This book is very unusual, it is like nothing I have read before. It is pitted as a crime novel and that it is but I would suggest it also fits very nicely into the noir genre. It is dark, gritty and seedy, although not fast paced I still found it a high octane thriller.
This novel is set around a murder, but also is a story of friendship. It puts under the microscope the fact that if certain people are friends it is bad for them and actions and consequences can occur, like a chain or falling dominoes.
This book is packed full of flawed characters who have all been damaged by life's experiences and who currently don't seem to be making the right decisions. These decisions have an impact on everybody, themselves and those around them.
This is about one friend trying to subtly find the killer of her best friend, like it is an absolute obsession. I am almost sure that Charlotte adored Danielle in a way that is not emotionally healthy.
The author writes well. I found the writing to be quite beautiful and sparse in places and this made the story take on a very sad and melancholy tone, even with the gritty undertones running through. She writes with great complexity and emotional depth. I thought it was a very clever style of writing, that worked in order to get the story across.
I found this book to be intelligently written and highly original. I would recommend this book if you like crime novels and fancy trying something a bit different.
About the Author:
Melissa Ginsburg was born and raised in Houston and attended the Iowa Writers' Workshop. She is the author of the poetry collection Dear Weather Ghost and two poetry chapbooks, Arbor and Double Blind. She teaches creative writing and literature at the university of Mississippi. Sunset City is her first novel.
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