“No Bad Deed” starts with traumatic event. In a first person narrative, Cassie Larkin talks to readers and describes the trauma she encountered on her way home. She tells herself to stay in the minivan as the 911 operator suggests, but she does not. Then her car is gone along with her purse, identification, address, everything. This sets the gripping tone for the entire book.
Chavez created a complex character; Larkin is a dedicated veterinarian and reminds readers how toxic chocolate is for dogs. Larkin tells readers what she wants us to know. She tells us what she says to people but some of what she says might not be true. She spends a lot of time thinking of past events, and she leaves gaps in the narrative that are filled in later. She is troubled by chaotic events that unfold around her and confused by contradictions she cannot understand.
The story takes readers down a path that is sometimes hard to fathom, but Larkin’s distress is certainly palpable and intense. Larkin admits that she has secrets and has told lies, and readers are left to separate the truth from her lies. The uncertainty increases page after page, and readers are compelled to turn the pages as one layer of trauma is piled upon another, and then that startling end.
I received a review copy of “No Bad Deed” from Heather Chavez and HarperCollins Publishers. It is gripping, traumatic, and compelling page after page.