The Good Girl by Mary Kubica is a thrilling mystery about a Mia, a young woman abducted by a man, Collin Thatcher, that she meets at a bar one night after getting stood up for the millionth time by her lame on-and-off boyfriend.
I read the entire book in one day — it was impossible to put down!
It is told through the different perspectives of Eve (her mother), Gary (the detective), and Collin (the abductor)… there’s also the epilogue narrated by Mia (it left me speechless). They vary in timing: some are from the “Before”-point of view, others the “After”… and the ever-so-important Christmas Eve.
Collin’s point of view grabbed me the most–
He starts off with:
“I’ve been following her for the past few days. I know where she buys her groceries, where she has her dry cleaning done, where she works. I don’t know the color of her eyes or what they look like when she’s scared. But I will.”
That idea just sends chills down my spine. Yet, there is so much more to Collin than meets the eye. As we read more about him, as the kidnapping goes on for far too long, we inevitably get to know him (as does Mia).
He says, “I know the feel of dismissive eyes, eyes that look without really seeing a thing. I know the sound of contempt in a voice. I know how betrayal and disillusionment feel, when someone who could give you the world refuses even a tiny piece of it.”
He is broken… and there are good reasons for it. But does that excuse his life of crime? Does that make him a victim of circumstance? Or can we still hate him for being a kidnapper… despite the good intentions?
He continues, “I turn and look at her. I say nothing. Neither of us is sure if it’s a question or not. What I know is that I feel something change inside me every time she looks at me. Her eyes no longer look through me. Now, when she talks, she looks at me. The anger and hate are gone.”
Stockholm syndrome, anyone? I’m not sure… there are just so many layers to these characters.
As they plan their get-away, he engraves a message on the table, “We Were Here, I think, but it’s someone else who leaves.”
For a long time, I couldn’t decide who was the most hateable character: Collin (for the obvious reasons) or Mia’s father, Judge James Dennett — who is (from the second he is introduced) a complete and self-absorbed jerk! He won’t even report Mia as missing because he’s sure she’s just having great time somewhere, being irresponsible, and hoping to cause a scene. He is demeaning and controlling with his wife. He is condescending to Detective Hoffman. He has absolutely no redeeming qualities.
It’s interesting to see just how much Mia and Collin have in common… what they can discover about each after being stuck in the same small log cabin in the isolated and increasingly freezing woods for weeks.
This is such a thoughtfully woven mystery — the alternating points of the view, the shift in time, the present-tense narrative… it’s all purposeful and helps drive the story forward until the climactic end.
It’s the kind of story you just don’t put down.