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  • Writer's pictureMandy McHugh

No Bad Deed, Heather Chavez: A Review

It's been a while since I got a title from Libby, but when my hold was up on this, I quickly jumped in. Cassie is a vet, busy in her work, and irked by the current state of her marriage. They're happy, she thinks, but she doesn't really know for sure, always feeling like there's another shoe ready to drop waiting around the corner. When a late night chance encounter puts her in the middle of a physical confrontation on a dark road, she makes the choice to help, and from there, her life spirals. Not out of control, as I was going to say, but out of her complacency, out of her expectations, and into a world where she questions what she knows about her life outside the office. Her husband goes missing on Halloween, but was he taken by the man who threatened her or is he a willing participant in his disappearance? So. There's a lot to unpack. The plot doesn't hurt for more twists or unreliable narrators. For most of the book, you're not sure who to trust. Cassie has *maybe* panic attacks that aren't really explained but force you to question her as a trustworthy voice. Her husband is self-explanatory, and the rest of the cast is either violent, lying, or slandered. It's a lot. The convoluted course isn't what kept me from loving this, though. I liked it. I found the distrust refreshing. Just because you pay a liar to tell you the truth doesn't mean they will tell you the truth. I also really enjoyed the break from typical thriller female MCs. Yes, she's a mother, but her daughter suffers from an autoimmune disease and she has to care for her while juggling other responsibilities. What I struggled with was Cassie's choice to pursue all the danger at every expense to her family. She doesn't use common sense. She makes reckless decisions and glosses over her haste with "I'll call the police later, they're not as capable as I am because I'm a mother." I'm a mother of two, and I'm for damn sure calling the police before chasing a proven psychopath, unarmed, leaving my immuno-compromised six year old with a grandfather she's never met before. Common sense. The final fifty pages felt rushed, cramped, and generalized. *spoilers* The grandfather's admission came out of left field and felt too convenient. I liked Chavez' writing, and stoner Daryl was hilarious and strategically executed, similar to the Shakespearean jester. But I couldn't really get a grasp enough on the perp's lifelong grudge to care about it--affected by it, I should say--and because of that, I didn't feel invested in any of the characters in any meaningful way. A roller coaster read, pick up No Bad Deed if you're in the mood for packed action, questionable decisions, and creeping bugs.


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