REVIEW: FATAL By John Lescroart

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From New York Times bestselling author John Lescroart, a riveting standalone novel about the unexpected, shattering, and lethal consequences of a one-night stand on a seemingly happily married couple.

Kate loves her life. At forty-four, she’s happily married to her kind husband, Ron, blessed with two wonderful children, and has a beautiful home in San Francisco. Everything changes, however, when she and Ron attend a dinner party and meet another couple, Peter and Jill. Kate and Peter only exchange a few pleasant words but that night, in bed with her husband, Kate is suddenly overcome with a burning desire for Peter.

What begins as an innocent crush soon develops into a dangerous obsession and Kate’s fixation on Peter results in one intense, passionate encounter between the two. Confident that her life can now go back to normal, Kate never considers that Peter may not be so willing to move on.

Not long after their affair, a masked man barges into the café Kate is sitting in with her best friend, firing an assault weapon indiscriminately into the crowd. This tragedy is the first in a series of horrifying events that will show Kate just how grave the consequences of one mistake can be.

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What drew me to this book was that awesome cover and title. It just seems to scream doom and gloom and the possibility of creepiness. Based on the blurb, which is enticing although somewhat misleading , and my past enjoyment of stories centered around the consequences of infidelity…think Presumed Innocent, Fatal Attraction, Unfaithful, The Kind Worth Killing…I was excited to give this one a go. I have to say, for the first 30 percent (kindle reading:) I was engaged with the story and feeling that there was definitely a set up of dire consequences coming for Kate and Peter. A possible Fatal Attraction type of scenario felt imminent and I was excited. I was, however, also ignoring my small reading voice that said there are parts here that don’t add up and the motivations of Kate and Peter’s characters aren’t really making sense. I won’t give away any of the plot but I will say my hopes for where the story might be going didn’t pan out. In fact, for me it took some odd turns.

As the story progresses and we get to know a rather large cast of unlikeable characters, there was one character I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know and that was Beth, Kate’s good friend and walking buddy. Beth is also a cop and will come to feature prominently in the mystery that ensues. Beth and her partner Ike were (thankfully) two people I could root for. As I said,  Beth plays a large role in the story as there occurs a particular crime where the list of possible suspects is endless. I always enjoy a good crime puzzle with lots of potential suspects so that part of the story worked for me. I had many theories as to who the guilty party was and they kept changing as new evidence came to light. Although the story didn’t at all go where I thought and hoped it was going to, I managed to stay engaged with the narrative but the farther along the plot progressed, the harder it became to do so. It felt like there were too many threads that didn’t connect or if they did they felt forced for the sake of trying to make parts “fit.”  In addition, there were a couple subplots that I just didn’t care about and I was left wondering how they contributed to the overall plot. I’m still not sure.

Overall, what really worked for me was Beth’s character and the fact that the narrative was told in a linear framework; there were no back and forth perspectives or past/present switchbacks which I appreciated. I also thought the setting was perfect for the story and the dialogue was top notch. Unfortunately, too many other parts just didn’t work for me including the ending which I will let you all judge for yourself.

2.5/5 Stars

This book will be published January 24 by Atria Books

Many thanks to Atria Books via Netgalley for my copy. I’m happy to provide an honest review.

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24 thoughts on “REVIEW: FATAL By John Lescroart

  1. Great detailed review! So this one didn’t work for you, I hate when parts of the story feel forced. It’s a shame because when you like the beginning of a book, it’s a fair assumption that you will like it all but as we’re learning, that’s not always the case! It’s seems a few people are encounters books they’re just not getting on with at the moment, hopefully it’s just ‘start of the new year reading blues’ and we’ll on be on track with books we love soon!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Janel! You’re right, based on the beginning I thought I would really like it and I might’ve if it went in a completely different direction than what it did. My issue seems to be with my Netgalley reads, I’m just not enjoying a few of them.

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      1. Two of my recent Netgalley reads were disappointing too, Netgalley must be going through a bad phase at the moment 😂 or maybe we just need to be more picky! Hopefully your next read is enjoyable all the way though 😘

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! I agree and have also put a thriller and mystery in my DidNotFinish pile this week. If the connection isn’t there there’s no point in forcing one I feel. Thanks for stopping by

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  2. I was also thinking of Fatal Attraction when reading the blurb.The first crime is so major that I wondered just how the book would.Sorry to hear that it didn’t quite deliver though.Thanks for the honest review.Reviewing books that one didn’t quite like is always so tricky.

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    1. Thanks Diana, it’s hard when a book starts off strong and then loses focus and momentum for me. Those are the hardest to review in my opinion. Have a good weekend:)

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  3. I do not do well with stories centered around affairs. I cannot stand the characters instantly once they commit this horrible “mistake” haha. It is just one of those few things I cannot relate to in any form, so I always struggle. then I find myself angry with the main character and it is all down hill.

    I wish I could see the cover. It is not loading for me for some reason. Pretty sure the problem is on my end. Will pull up on GR 🙂

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    1. I do agree with you in terms of I seem to fare better with movies dealing with infidelity like the ones I listed as well as the tv show The Affair. While it isn’t my favorite topic if it’s examined in a suspenseful way I will usually watch or read. But I totally get where you’re coming from.

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  4. I love Fatal Attraction hahaha Those 90s movies are my favorite. And The kind worth killing was such a great book! Too bad this wasn’t as good. I just finished another disappointing one so…

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    1. I also loved the movie Unfaithful with Richard Gere. It seems movies can pull off these storylines better than the books. It seems several of us have had some disappointing reads lately. I just put one in my DNF pile this week

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      1. The Heist by Daniel Silva. I reached about halfway and realized I was confused a lot of the time and didn’t really care about the plot:(

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      2. Yes be glad! I do feel like my expectations are pretty high right now as i’ve read several 4 & 5 star books these last couple months so I don’t feel like continuing on with a book that’s less than that:)

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Great review! Pity the book didn’t quite live up to your hopes. Sometimes I think authors maybe try to do too much. I’m not a huge fan of lots of sub-plots – I’d rather books just stuck to the main plot on the whole. I find lots of things going on actually makes me feel less involved rather than more. Oh well, onwards and upwards! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Great review! I’m sorry to hear the book did not live up to your expectations. It’s a shame when the beginning of a book has you hooked but the more you get into the story, the less convinced you become.

    Liked by 1 person

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