I Wish I Was Like You (Release Date: July 2017)
2017 Bram Stoker Award nominee for Superior Achievement in a Novel.
“First rule. Never open your story with a corpse. It’s a cliché. If you do it to be ironic, I’ll throw your manuscript in your face.”
Greta didn’t set out to solve a murder. But if the first thing you see when you come home after a long day at a lousy job is your own dead body, it can make even the most cynical non-starter in 1994 Seattle take an interest. Refusing to believe her dead eyes, the one-time theater editor at the city’s least noteworthy periodical—now a bitter ghost haunting the streets and busways of the Emerald City—will happily break every rule of crime fiction to tell her story and prove she didn’t die a lame-ass, suicidal Cobain imitator. If Greta manages to figure out who really killed her, in the process? That’s just an extra shot in her overpriced espresso.
Hauntingly scary, darkly funny, and occasionally nostalgic, I Wish I Was Like You is one vengeful spirit’s look at a city learning to embrace narcissism and the dead inhabitants who will always call it home.
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This was a very different and intriguing read. However, the writing execution is not for everyone. For example, the switches in point of view are disorienting/jarring, but that’s probably the point—and to give a broader picture of the setting. Somehow those pieces really help make this novel complete. Also, there are a few shout outs to the title throughout, but it doesn’t really come together until that last line. In fact, there are several elements of this book that might not hit you until you finish it. That’s actually one of the things that I really appreciate here: the satisfying aftertaste.
Greta is not necessarily the most likeable character. That’s not to say we can’t empathize with her trying to find her way in the world, often scheming to get there. But, it’s being in the character’s head and witnessing her thoughts that makes the experience so real. She thinks and feels what many of us wouldn’t dare admit, which is a guilty pleasure. Add to this the need for us to find out who killed her, and you’ll keep turning those pages.
And, all of the answers you seek will be satisfied, along with a side of philosophy (musings on the meaning of life and the afterlife). You’ll be forced to think beyond what seems on the surface to be a work drama, while at the same time being amused by the snarky-ness of the narrator. There’s definitely a sense of humanity everyone can relate to, the everyday bullshit we wish we could escape. And also the uncomfortable question of how much of our destiny is our own fault. Or how much of it is the shitty cards that play out. Does our existence have any meaning in the end? Those notions are the haunting ones. You’re bound to have an emotional reaction to this book. I can’t say that it scared me at all, at least not in the way I was expecting. All in all, you just might want to read it to get that satisfying aftertaste I was talking about earlier.
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