Reviews for Good House


AudioFile Reviews 2013 March
Hildy Good is many things: a grandmother, a descendant of one of the women hanged in the Salem witch trials, and a once incredibly successful real estate agent. For most of the people who love her, though, the word that defines her these days is: alcoholic. Both Hildy's denial and her vulnerability are dramatized extremely well by narrator Mary Beth Hurt. Hurt deftly portrays Hildy's tendency to hide her alcoholism under a veneer of polished perfection; she's a woman who can deal with anyone's problems but her own. As the novel continues, the listener feels the pain of Hildy's breakdown and relapse in Hurt's delivery, so well does she depict Leary's beautifully plotted story. J.L.K. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award (c) AudioFile 2013, Portland, Maine

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BookPage Reviews 2013 April
A tale of two heists

There’s a new kid on the thriller-diller block named Roger Hobbs, and he’s the real deal. Ghostman, his debut, has already been optioned by Warner Bros., with much interest from Leonardo DiCaprio. Many heads are bashed, endless cell phones trashed, a lot of blood is spilled and a lot of money is stolen as we follow a preternaturally cool, Aeneid-loving antihero, who may or may not be Jack Delton, through this compellingly complex heist how-to, packed with action and the nitty-gritty details of robbery tradecraft. Hobbs’ noirish, just-the-facts-ma’am, hardboiled style, wonderfully mirrored in Jake Weber’s narration, is just the ticket for this tale of two heists. “Jack,” responsible for a major screw-up in Kuala Lumpur five years ago, comes out of his default Ghostman anonymity to pay his dues by playing Mr. Fixit after an Atlantic City casino job implodes big-time. There are bad guys galore, from smug thugs to criminal masterminds, and an alluring FBI agent, but best of all is Jack, who lives for “the rush not the dollars” and “the pure ecstasy of the job.”

THE GOOD REALTOR
My name is Hildy, and I’m not an alcoholic. How could I be when I’m one of the most successful Realtors on Boston’s North Shore? Well, maybe I’ve had a few blackouts, a few cringe-worthy moments under the influence, and my two grown daughters staged an intervention that sent me to rehab at Hazelton. But I’m really a much nicer, funnier, more loving person after a glass or two of wine. . . . Hildy Good, 60-something, a bit overweight and a descendent of one of the Salem witches, is the proverbial piece of work, and she’s the tough-tender narrator of Ann Leary’s wonderfully dark, comedic new novel, The Good House. Hildy is brought to life—on and off the wagon—by Mary Beth Hurt’s fabulous performance. Although you want to shake Hildy out of her deepening denial, at the same time, you don’t want to miss a single detail of her take on the goings-on in Wendover, Massachusetts, the classic New England town she grew up in, whose houses, citizens and secrets she knows so well. Leary, too, knows this small-town territory, and she makes its inevitable soap operas compelling, real and even a tad romantic.

TOP PICK IN AUDIO
“Did the accused premeditate the abduction?” The accused is Eric Kennedy, né Erik Schroder, and the abduction is more like a wildly misconceived seven-day “adventure” with the beloved daughter he’s about to lose in a custody battle. It’s Eric who’s telling you all this in a rambling “love” letter to his ex-wife and, perhaps, to the woman his daughter will become, a letter that’s supposed to help her understand him and what he did. And it’s this letter that makes up the entirety of Amity Gaige’s latest novel, Schroder. Gaige so elegantly crafts the storyline, moving seamlessly back and forth in time, that it may take you a while to realize that Eric’s whole life has been based on a lie, that this lyrical, poignant “confession” is riddled with self-delusions. But Eric, persuasively evoked by Will Collyer’s reading, is a disturbingly appealing man, and his daughter, Meadow, a wonderfully imagined, brilliant 6-year-old, is a joy to spend time with. Gaige raises many disquieting questions about parental love and loss, about identity and expectations—questions that will linger.

Copyright 2012 BookPage Reviews.

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