“The Best Possible Angle” is a book full of suspense and classic “who done it” mystery vibes right from the start. Kendrick, the main character, is on the cusp of achieving his dreams, but then tragedy hits and keeps hitting, and the people around the burgeoning movie star quickly show their true colors. Everyone in Kendrick’s immediate circle has something to hide and gain, and as one secret leads to another, everyone starts threatening betrayal, and things, well, escalate. And come the end of the story, you wish more characters had been punished. The story starts with a gruesome murder that becomes clear as to whom died at around the 60% mark of the story, but that’s far from the only murder cover up going on in the book, and those get teased out well before that point.
The synopsis really does paint this as a thriller, and the author does craft what I can only describe as authentic characters—in that they are severely flawed, and like some people we know, they aren’t great people. The book starts dark, with heavy themes and language, and it keeps that up all the way through, so be forewarned. Also, some of the characters are pretty homophobic so there are chapters where members of the LGBQT community are not portrayed well. The main character may be Kendrick, and the synopsis may paint it as though his secret and career are the focal point of this novel, but that’s not really true, as his friend, Lenox, and girlfriend, Sabathany, all have equal page time, and their secrets are just as big, and some are certainly much more damaging then Kendrick’s. There was a lot going on, a lot of questions about who was hiding what, how far they’d go to protect their secrets, and who they were willing to destroy along the way—and for what price. So if you like a cast of characters that are all bad—as in their personality types—and thrillers that are more focused on the secrets then on police or detective work, this may be right up your alley. I will say I don’t think this book was what I was expecting based on the synopsis, and therefore wasn’t the kind of suspense thriller I most enjoy.
Let’s start with the characters: I didn’t like any of them. Not that they weren’t written well, I had no problem keeping them apart and the author is great at writing their dialogue, but more of they all felt irredeemable to me. And, again, that does go to the realness of them, but for me personally, it’s hard to enjoy these characters or appreciate their plight when I have no character that I want to see ‘win” so to speak. Just when I think one will get to a point where they will endear themselves to me, they do or say something so awful that I just can’t… despite many of the characters tragic back stories. Also, Kendrick’s guilt over his secret never felt as big as the brutal things some of the other characters are involved with (which I won’t state to avoid spoilers) so I was far more interested in those characters being caught then Kendrick or his career. When “justice” is served, I didn’t feel all that satisfied, as I wanted their crimes to be discovered, for other characters to be redeemed, and that just never happened. I also wasn’t a fan of how every woman in the book, with the exception of Kendrick’s mom, is viewed through a sexual lens; their only value to the main character being sexual gratification. It made all the women feel shallow—though the men fell into that camp too, as all their wants and desires were pretty superficial, too. And then the portrayal of all the LGBQT characters... I won’t keep belaboring the point, but suffice it to say, when characters are key for me, this fell below the mark in that area for pretty much every character. There were also a lot of characters in general, maybe too many given all the secrets that each harbors.
This book was hard to get into, it starts off so interesting with this gruesome murder but the detectives are barely present to really investigate, and the characters… I wish I liked them, any of them. The author has a flair for writing intriguing chapters that make you want to continue on and figure out what’s going on and what lengths the characters will go to, but when the traps start closing in, you aren’t rooting for anyone to get away. Which is probably for the best given how the book ends—no spoilers. But even that didn’t feel like it went far enough given what some of the characters do and say to one another. That being said, I truly appreciate the diversity in this book, which is always important to have. And, again, if you enjoy books where you can really dig in and hate the characters and watch them get what’s coming to them, this may be more your jam then it was mine. Hence the 2 stars, but, again, while I couldn’t connect to the characters and found them to be distasteful people for a lot of reasons, the author can write an engaging suspense novel. And thanks to the author for providing me with a copy for an honest review!
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