Book Review: What She Gave Away (Santa Barbara Suspense #1) by Catharine Riggs

What She Gave Away (Santa Barbara Suspense #1)What She Gave Away by Catharine Riggs
My rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟 (4 stars)
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer

Talk about a quick read. I stayed up late reading this one and could not go to sleep until I'd finished. I'm giving no spoilers but I will say that as suspense reads go, this one plays the tension well throughout. Crystal and Katie are the dual narrators here that are thoroughly unlikeable (one is possibly very unreliable because she's downing boxes of wine like it's sport). The twists and turns come pretty quickly and so do the clues as to connections and where true blame should be assessed in the ledger of bad deeds before this culminates in a final showdown.

If I have one complaint it's that the ending is a bit pat and happy ending-esque. Now, I've nothing against happy endings and everything being tied up in a bow but it just wasn't something I needed in this story of suspense. I think the ending without the epilogue would have provided a more powerful read overall. Your mileage may vary.

This is my first read by Catharine Riggs and I'd read another (I plan on reading the next in this series). Recommended.

Summary: Imagining the best way to destroy a person’s happiness is Crystal Love’s favorite game. Devious and unpolished, the plus-sized loan analyst couldn’t be more out of place in her new town of Santa Barbara, where the beautifully manicured women never age and the ocean views stretch farther than the million-dollar lawns. And yet her eye for the power dynamics at play in this tony community is dead accurate.Kathi Wright, on the other hand, has made it her life’s work to fit in with the plastic people who surround her. But when her husband—a wealthy bank president—dies suddenly, she’s left with nothing. Then the FBI shows up, asking questions she can’t answer and freezing assets she once took for granted.
While Kathi struggles to outrun the mess caused by her husband’s mysterious death, Crystal seems focused on her game. But why? And who are her targets?
Spanning two years and told in Crystal’s and Kathi’s alternating voices, this tautly plotted novel reveals the power of choice and the price of revenge.

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