⭐️⭐️⭐️ | Takes One to Know One is a fresh take on a contemporary hard-boiled mystery. Corie Schottland Gellar, former FBI agent, is learning to navigate suburban upper-class America complete with a new husband who is working on climbing the rungs of judgedom and a young teen daughter who is going through all the angst teen girls go through. Despite her best attempts at being a typical stay-at-home mother, she can’t help but see mystery and intrigue in places that other people don’t notice.
What I Like
The main character, Corie, is endearingly flawed. Through her eyes, her marriage seems lackluster at best, and her new profession as a reader of Arabic lit for a few publishers is a bit humdrum. She doesn’t like her husband to go away for long cases, partly because that means she’ll be alone to face the responsibilities of having a family and partly because that means if an exciting FBI opportunity comes along, she won’t be a be able to pursue it. She’s going through the same problems that many men and women go through when they decide to put family over career.
The pace of the second half of the book is fast and action-filled. When FBI agent Corie emerges (as opposed to stay-at-home Corie), the speed and content of the story reflect that change. That part of the story grabs the reader’s attention and doesn’t let go until the killer is caught.
I appreciated the unique plot sequence. Where most mystery novels start with a crime and the rest of the story is about the detective figuring out who-did-it, Takes One to Knows One begins with the mystery of whether there is a mystery that needs to be solved. Once she establishes that there is one and that luckily it falls under the jurisdiction on the FBI, the action the reader anticipates from the beginning finally ensues.
What I Wish
The first half of the story had been condensed into two or three chapters. It was so slow-paced that it was painful to get through. Technically, the plot choices were spot on, maybe even ingenious as it reflects how the main character was feeling, but from a reader’s perspective, it was incredibly hard to remain focused and interested in the story, which is unfortunate because the second half offers what the reader is hoping to read.
Corie and her father open a private detective agency. I think that is what both need in their lives and it would make an excellent follow-up story.
To Read or Not to Read
If you are a reader that is okay with a slow pace story or are willing to power through the first half of the story, you will enjoy the thrill of the second half of the novel.
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