I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
This post contains affiliate links you can use to purchase the book. If you buy the book using that link, I will receive a small commission from the sale.The Winter Girl by Matt Marinovich
Published by Random House Doubleday on January 19, 2016
Genres: Mystery, Psychological, Thriller & Suspense
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A scathing and exhilarating thriller that begins with a husband’s obsession with the seemingly vacant house next door.
It’s wintertime in the Hamptons, where Scott and his wife, Elise, have come to be with her terminally ill father, Victor, to await the inevitable. As weeks turn to months, their daily routine—Elise at the hospital with her father, Scott pretending to work and drinking Victor’s booze—only highlights their growing resentment and dissatisfaction with the usual litany of unhappy marriages: work, love, passion, each other. But then Scott notices something simple, even innocuous. Every night at precisely eleven, the lights in the neighbor’s bedroom turn off. It’s clearly a timer…but in the dead of winter with no one else around, there’s something about that light he can’t let go of. So one day while Elise is at the hospital, he breaks in. And he feels a jolt of excitement he hasn’t felt in a long time. Soon, it’s not hard to enlist his wife as a partner in crime and see if they can’t restart the passion.
Their one simple transgression quickly sends husband and wife down a deliriously wicked spiral of bad decisions, infidelities, escalating violence, and absolutely shocking revelations.
The Winter Girl is sadly another un-thrilling thriller. I actually went to bed with 40 minutes left to read in it. You may have picked up from reading this site, that I generally finish a book a day and will stay up till they are done. I put this one down with hardly a second thought. The first half of the book was by far the best. Matt Marinovich can do some great set-up. It was tense and confusing and I really was intrigued. The second half with the “revelations” was where The Winter Girl and Marinovich lost me. The first and second halves seemed like almost separate books to me. The drawing out and questioning in the first half was so amazing, then in the second half it was more of here is a dump of info and by the way all of the characters are just awful, ‘k thanks.
The world built was great. I could picture the “creepy” house and the landscape. The way Marinovich built in the weather as almost an additional character was fantastic. The pacing was great in the first half, and then was super rushed in the second. The plot in the first half was gripping. Tension was built and there was a general perception of creeping dread. The plot in the second half turned weird and kindof gross. It did not seem to mesh well with the fantastic beginning. The characters were the one element that was the same across the board. They were all pretty unlikeable. Scott as the main was an unhappy freeloader who just wanted to drink and have his father-in-law die. Elise, the wife, was cold and distant. The aforementioned father-in-law was mean and just an awful human being. Now in a thriller having some characters that are awful is expected, you need to have those to add tension and drama. But there needs to be at least one person to root for and to hang your hopes on, even if they are an antihero. Sadly The Winter Girl did not have one, so my attention waned.
Matt Marinovich did create an amazing world in the first half of the book. I just wish it had carried through to the second half. The Winter Girl seemed to lose its momentum and the ending was rushed. I will actually read another book by Marinovich if I come across it, as the writing in the first half was so powerful. I hope by the next book his writing is consistent, as that was the issue I had with The Winter Girl. Half was amazing and half was meh.
Favorite lines – Of all the things that are painful about that night, the most is the realization I have, even now, of how tired she was of everything, but most of all, me. There is nothing I can do to change her expression when she finally looked up at me.
Biggest cliché – “But she loves me, so she must want to protect me.”
Have you read The Winter Girl, or added it to your TBR?