Note: I received a free copy of this book from Online Book Club in exchange for an honest review. You can check out both the novel and other reviews here.
I wasn’t sure what to expect when I started this novel. A political thriller, it isn’t my normal genre. But if you read my reviews frequently, you’ll know that I try to keep an open mind. And while I had my problems with the book, overall I was pretty pleased!
Dean Wister, a Chicago cop, is forced to take a vacation after the death of his wife, Sara. Travelling to Jackson Hole, a place where he and Sara shared many wonderful times together, he finds himself back on the job, wrapped up in a murder case that is much more than it appears. Somehow tied up with a man who is running for President, Dean will find himself deeper than he ever has before. How is everything connected? Can he hope to solve this in time, or will it slip away? And when will he stop seeing the ghost of Sara? More importantly, does he want to? All this and more unfolds in The Grand.
Let’s start with the story itself, and how Wilson chose to tell it. Written from the perspective of multiple characters, I thought the format was really quite brilliant. The mysteries unfolded beautifully, and each chapter felt like a new light bulb turning on. Some things you saw coming, others you were totally blindsided by, and in that respect the story felt incredibly realistic. It felt as if you were actually on the case with Dean, trying to unravel all of these clues. From beginning to end, Wilson kept his audience hooked, and what I really loved was that the end didn’t disappoint. It felt plausible, provided closure, and was satisfying.
As a protagonist, I have to admit that Dean wasn’t anything special. There were moments where I felt connected to him, or particularly liked him (his love for animals was endearing), but generally speaking he didn’t really have a spark. I found it was the plot more than the characters that drove the story. That being said, there were definitely a few characters I would have loved to follow even more. Tatiana, a girl you follow in different points throughout the tale, is someone I would have loved to read about even more. Those scenes were some of the most intense, and I wish she had been more of a main character.
There was a fair amount of sex in this book, and I want to include a trigger warning, because there was definitely some sexual abuse. But even the scenes that were supposed to be sexy I just didn’t find appealing at all. I found they were crass, uncomfortable, and just made me want to skip ahead. If that was the author’s intent, well done! If it wasn’t, it’s definitely something to improve upon. The scenes between Dean and Sara especially were awkward and unrealistic for me. I just found the idea of this man being pleasured by the ghost of his dead wife a little too much.
Overall, the plot was wonderfully crafted. And anyone who loves a good political drama/mystery will love this. Filled with murder, intrigue, betrayal, and more, it’s definitely an action-packed ride. I would rate this book 3/5 stars. While the plot is great, it wasn’t quite my cup of tea, and it isn’t something I would read again. However, I definitely would recommend it to any fans of this genre, or anyone looking for a well-woven plot with this kind of tone.
Feel free to check out the novel itself, as well as other reviews, over at OnlineBookClub!