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The Accomplice by Lisa Lutz

Who: Owen and Luna, best friends since college, as well as their families and outer circle of friends.

What: A twisty, mysterious thriller that makes you wonder how well you can really know the people you love the most.

When: Early 2000’s through 2019

Where: New York (city and state), and London

How: Owen is haunted by the death of a college hookup, whose death ten years ago was ruled an accident. When his wife disappears, he becomes the prime suspect again.

What I Thought:

Lisa Lutz is one of my favorite authors. Her description of and appreciation for the nuances of complex relationships is one of the best aspects of her writing. In The Accomplice, she tackles a platonic, male/female friendship in a way that was immensely satisfying. The overall arc of the story, however, didn’t work for me.

Luna, the protagonist, and Owen, her best friend, have been “thick as thieves” since college. A decade has passed since then and they’re now both married and live in the same neighborhood. The pair never dated and present themselves as the only constant in each other’s lives.

As the book unfolds there are two main storylines: of the friendship and its progress, and of two murder investigations— a girl Owen hooked up with in college, and Owen’s wife in the present day.

The timeline jumps between the past and the present, and characters take turns narrating as well.

This is all fine, but it also brings me to my problem with the book. Every single person is rather unlikeable.

Don’t get me wrong, I love a good mean girl, an irredeemable baddie who does not try to impress anyone. What I felt in this book was that everyone was awful, much like I felt the one winter I watched Breaking Bad and Always Sunny constantly, and decided the whole world was a big mess of assholes.

Owen and Luna are meant to be kinda offbeat, a cute non-couple who cling to their friendship and don’t care who else likes them. That’s okay. And they mess around with alcohol and drugs in college (who didn’t?) but now, as adults, why haven’t they grown up? The book feels like a whole study in how not to develop a character (or a whole book’s worth of characters).

The ending to The Accomplice fell flat (two out of three suspicious deaths get resolved), and I was left rather disappointed by this book overall.

My thanks to Netgalley for an advance copy of The Accomplice.

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