Wednesday, 1 April 2015

The Third Woman

Book Title: The Third Woman
Author: Jonathan Freedland
Date Started: March 12th 2015
Date Completed: April 1st 2015
Genres: Mystery, Thriller, Contemporary
Quality Rating: Three Stars
Enjoyment Rating: Three Stars
Final Rating: Three stars

Thanks to HarperCollins for the Uncorrected Proof Copy for review.

Unfortunately I can't say I was blown away by The Third Woman, but at the same time I'm not the target audience nor do I consistently get along with politics-based mystery thrillers - which this book definitely is. Having said that, I do think that it seems like a solid story for those who are interested in this genre.

The narration in this book did have a journalistic tone; I could almost hear Maddy walking through her plan like a brief to someone in the office. This helped to get in the mood of the novel but wasn't the most positive at times. I can't claim the know much about the politics involved here but the almost laid-back but informed tone about quite serious matters did make the story seem slightly bias (it literally takes until the last few chapters for the protagonist to mention that within a political/social group there are disagreements and conflicts of interest).

The big thing that stood out for me in this book was how it brought the impacts of journalism into perspective: it's fair to say there's an awareness in society that the press can hugely interfere with the course of the law, but it can also expose things that the public have a right to know - but both the pros and cons were really shown here, and presumably accurately. I have to say, it wasn't particularly positive towards journalists, but I was definitely more empathetic with their reasonings.
There was a great spiralling of events in the story, but the politics itself didn't seem particularly solid (or rather understandable) for me. I also got quite bored of everyone telling the protagonist that she needed to mourn for three quarters of the book.
The resolution, for me, wasn't really satisfying because I didn't entirely understand it and it seemed quite anticlimactic, however I think other well-read mystery thriller lovers will be happy with the conclusion.

There are a lot of characters in this book, but all only seem to the there to help or hinder Maddy. As a huge fan of realistic developed characters this wasn't my favourite part of the book; people were featured in their own chapters as if their own little stories but they were abandoned. It was also more male dominated than I thought was necessarily necessary.
Maddy was a good enough protagonist, and since literally everything revolved around her it was easy enough to understand her intentions. The one problem I had was that she's supposedly the "best reporter in America" but we're not ever really given anything to support that - the only thing I know is that she's constantly misusing the prestige everyone regards her with.

There was quite a slow pace in this book, which isn't particularly uncommon in mystery thrillers, but it did feel like we were going in circles for a while. In a way this was great because I got just as frustrated with the various people who weren't cooperating as Maddy, but for a pacing I felt it did go on for a little too long with no leads.

The Third Woman is definitely what I'd call a solid adult (definitely adult) mystery thriller, and I wish all the best for Freedland now that he's using his real name on his works - but I can't say it was a personal favourite of mine.

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