“It doesn’t matter what’s true—what matters is what people believe.” ― Eileen Cook,
It was the perfect trip…until it wasn’t.
Eighteen-year-old Jill Charron wakes up in a hospital room, leg in a cast, stitches in her face and a big blank canvas where the last six weeks should be. She discovers she was involved in a fatal car accident while on a school trip in Italy. A trip she doesn’t even remember taking. She was jetted home by her affluent father in order to receive quality care. Care that includes a lawyer. And a press team. Because maybe the accident…wasn’t an accident.
As the accident makes national headlines, Jill finds herself at the center of a murder investigation. It doesn’t help that the media is portraying her as a sociopath who killed her bubbly best friend, Simone, in a jealous rage. With the evidence mounting against her, there’s only one thing Jill knows for sure: She would never hurt Simone. But what really happened? Questioning who she can trust and what she’s capable of, Jill desperately tries to piece together the events of the past six weeks before she loses her thin hold on her once-perfect life.
I originally picked up With Malice because I liked the idea of it, plus it was a small book which would make a quick, light read.
When I originally read the synopsis I immediately thought of the Amanda Knox case. For those that are too young to remember or have heard of it but aren’t entirely sure they know what happened, I’m going to give you the quick and dirty version of her story. In 2002, Knox was a college student studying abroad in Italy. She had a roommate and an Italian lover. One morning Knox came home from her Italian guys house and found that her roommate had been brutally murdered. After that she was charged and convicted of murder in Italy where she spent four years in jail. In 2006 she was released on a wrongful conviction decision. She battled the Italian courts for four more years after that.
So, now that you know who Knox was and what happened to her, you can better understand my interest in With Malice. While the premise of the book was something that I was intrigued by, it just didn’t stand up to my expectations.
I’d been promised a thriller and what I got was mostly a very slowly put together puzzle with dialogue that I really wasn’t a fan of. Honestly, the story was fine, but I couldn’t like any of the characters.
Our main character, Jill, is meant to be a character I could sympathize with. Instead I just kept wondering what the story would have been like if it were through her Italian boyfriend’s point of view instead of hers. He was written in the way someone with Narcissistic personality disorder would be written and he always had intriguing pieces to add to the book.
Instead, Jill was my main set of eyes.
I think the biggest thrill that I experienced was that Jill may have had a reason to kill her friend if she did kill her. I’m not going to tell you how it ends of course, but I can say that I was unsatisfied. It wasn’t an ending that I really appreciated and I think that it was a bit of a cop out considering all of the puzzle’s that are thrown at you throughout the book.
All in all, I gave With Malice 3/5 stars. I liked it, but it certainly wasn’t my favorite book this year.