New York City, 1924: the height of Prohibition and the whole city swims in bathtub gin.
Rose Baker is an orphaned young woman working for her bread as a typist in a police precinct on the lower East Side. Every day Rose transcribes the confessions of the gangsters and murderers that pass through the precinct. While she may disapprove of the details, she prides herself on typing up the goriest of crimes without batting an eyelid.
But when the captivating Odalie begins work at the precinct Rose finds herself falling under the new typist's spell. As do her bosses, the buttoned up Lieutenant Detective and the fatherly Sergeant. As the two girls' friendship blossoms and they flit between the sparkling underworld of speakeasies by night, and their work at the precinct by day, it is not long before Rose's fascination for her new colleague turns to obsession.
But just who is the real Odalie, and how far will Rose go to find out?Paperback, 356 pages
Three stars: A haunting and puzzling psychological thriller.
Rose works as a typist at the police precinct. She isn't bothered by the disturbing criminal confessions she is subject to since she likes her job. Everything changes the day another typist is hired. The minute Odelia starts working at the precinct, everyone becomes ensnared in her charm. Odelia draws people to her, like a moth to a flame. Before long, Rose is going to lunch with Odelia, and parties, and then, she is moving in with her. Odelia shows Rose an entirely new life: speakeasies, money, parties and more. To Rose, Odelia is the life long friend she is wished for, but soon things go awry and Rose begins to see Odelia's darker side. Will Rose lose herself to Odelia?
What I Liked:
- Psychological thrillers are always books that I can't put down. This one is no different as I was immediately drawn in by the engaging writing and interesting story line. There are numerous twists and turns, surprises and a puzzling head scratching ending that still has me thinking. If you are a reader that likes books that keep you guessing and make you think, pick this one up.
- This story is narrated by Rose, who turns out to be an unreliable narrator. At first, Rose comes across as a sympathetic and likable character, but about a third of the way in, Rose lets us know that she is under a doctor's care, and the reader learns that perhaps Rose isn't completely telling the truth. As the book wears on, the reader becomes more and more wary, wondering what is truth and what is a lie and what exactly is going on with Rose. Her narration will definitely keep you flipping the pages.
- I was drawn in and by the era. This book is set in 1925 when Prohibition was in full swing, and hidden speakeasies, and bootleggers were supplying liquor. It was a time when women first began to enter the work force, as they took on secretarial jobs and typing jobs. They bobbed their hair and set out to change the world. Rose's job was especially interesting because as a typist in a police precinct, it is her job to type up all the confessions of the criminals. That means she is subject to hearing the details of rapes and murders, not exactly appropriate for ladies, but men just didn't work as typists. I thought this was an especially interesting conundrum.
- By the end of the book, I was stunned and confused, and still puzzling everything out. Was Rose the person I thought she was? What about Odelia? There were so many different stories, it was hard to determine who was telling the truth. This is certainly a book that I will be thinking about for days to come.
- I thought the writing was haunting and gorgeous, and it really made the book shine.
And The Not So Much:
- The ending was a bit of a let down. After all the buildup, I was left stunned and confused and uncertain as to what really went on. I desperately wanted to know more about Odelia and what really happened. I love a good psychological thriller, but I dislike open endings, and that is what you get with this one. It is up to the reader to discern the truth.
- I wish I had a clearer picture of Odelia. She strides on scene larger than life and too good to be true. She seemed to have the whole world in her hand, and nothing was out of her grasp. She supposedly was self made, and she made a fortune as a bootlegger, or did she? There are numerous stories told throughout the book regarding her past, and I honestly had no idea what the truth was. In the end, I think she was not the person I was led to believe and that Rose had fabricated most of her story. Still I would have loved to have gotten a snippet of the story from Odelia's point of view. I was never clear on how she supposedly got people off at the precinct.
- There is an interesting storyline regarding Rose changing the confession of a supposed killer, and I was waiting for the other shoe to drop, but the storyline fades out, and when the truth comes out, it is brushed over and the reader doesn't get to witness all the fall out. I thought this was a critical part of the story and I thought the payout was weak.
The Typist is a haunting, thrilling and puzzling psychological thriller. Whisk back to the 1920s, a time of hair bobs, speakeasies and bootleggers, and follow the supposedly hapless Rose as she becomes enchanted by the brilliant Odelia. Who is telling the truth? I am still trying to sort it out. If you enjoy a psychological thriller that will leave you thinking about it for days to come, pick this one up.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.