Thursday, May 28, 2015

The One That Got Away

The One That Got Away by Simon Wood is a contemporary mystery/crime thriller, and a good one at that.  Zoë and Holli are grad students at UC Davis who went to Las Vegas to let their hair down and de-stress, but on the drive back, something terrible happens.  Zoë wakes up to find herself naked and bound in a dirty toolshed, and she can hear someone screaming - it's Holli.  They had stopped for food and gas in a small town, but everything is fuzzy and Zoë can't remember what got them into this situation.  All she can think about is getting out of it.

Fifteen months later, the events of that night have changed Zoë completely.  Her life is on a much different track and she's a different person now.  She hasn't gotten over what happened - not even close - but she's coping in her own way.  That is, until something happens that sends her right back into the path of the man who abducted her and Holli.  The media has nicknamed him the "Tally Man," and it seems he has a score to settle with Zoë.

I sat down intending just to read maybe the first few chapters before bed the other night, but ended up reading it straight through.  Even if I'd wanted to put it down, I don't think I would have been able to sleep - every sound and shadow would have probably freaked me out too much.

Zoë and Holli seem like they were probably pretty normal young women before and during their Vegas trip:  they got a little rowdy, sure, but who isn't going to let loose in a place like Las Vegas?  That's basically the whole point of that town.  In The One That Got Away, Wood has taken one of women's worst legitimate fears and given us the nightmare worse-case scenario:  a self-righteous man with psychological baggage is taking it upon himself to teach people a lesson.  He's not exactly Dexter, though, as the reasons he targets a victim are for relatively benign social infractions.  I mean. there is ONE victim I agree needed to be punished, but I would have thought maybe more along the lines of being prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.  Another victim definitely got what he deserved, but he's more of a side-plot sort of thing, and doesn't really "count" as a Tally Man kill.  If you read TOTGA, you'll know what I'm talking about with that.

Anyway, I liked Zoë a lot.  She went from environmental policy PhD candidate to mall cop with a short fuse, and given the circumstances, her new violent streak is pretty understandable.  Ever since that night, Zoë has lived her life determined never to be a victim again, and as a result, she kind of flies off the handle more than once at people.  Honestly, I chalk it up to her PTSD.  Either way, I don't know how intentional it was, but Wood has written a very feminist book, in the sense that we have a male antagonist who thinks he knows what's best for everyone else - particularly women - and goes out of his way to try and "correct" them.  His motives aren't sexually driven, and there is no rape in this book, but even rape in and of itself is not about sex - it's about demonstrating power over someone else.  Zoë continues to dress and act exactly how she wants, except now she does so with a conscious effort to never again allow someone to gain the upper hand with her.  Her only crime is to have been perceived as a slut after a weekend in Vegas by a psychologically disturbed man who didn't even know her.

Don't go thinking that because I said this is a feminist book, that this means all the male characters in it are villains.  First of all, because feminism is not misandry, but also because many of the other characters do happen to be men, and many of the more central male characters are very good friends to Zoë throughout the book; they look out for her and help her as best they can, but they don't do so in an irritating and unnecessarily patronizing way (well except maybe for Dr. Jarocki, but as a therapist, it's kind of unavoidable for him to come off as at least a little patronizing).  So, to toss around some formerly-trending Twitter hashtags, The One That Got Away demonstrates the notion that, yes, "not all men," but "yes all women."  Yes All Women in the case of this book, because while obviously only very few of the male characters are assholes and showcase a misogynistic streak, it's very true that ALL women were potential targets as victims of the Tally Man.  All it would take would be one random encounter - direct OR indirect - at the wrong moment.  

Now, it's entirely possible someone could read this book and NOT get any feminist subtext from it.  As a feminist myself, though, it came through really clear for me whether the theme was intentional or not on the part of the author.  So if for some reason feminism turns you so completely off that you've already decided not to read this, I'd strongly suggest you reconsider.  It's a fast-paced page-turner of a story that had me totally engrossed from beginning to end.  I also really enjoyed getting to read both from the killer's point of view as well as from Zoë's.  I'm looking forward to keeping an eye out for other books by Wood.




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  1. Thank you for the kind review, Colleen.


    1. Thanks for stopping by! I really enjoyed the book. :)

  2. I'm glad. I really appreciate the review and I'll share it.

  3. شركة القائد من الشركات الاوله فى الدمام والرياض
    شركة القائد
    حيث تمتلك شركتنا عمالة فنية ومدربة جيدا على الاهتمام بتنظيف الشقق والفلل والمنازل كما تهتم بأدق التفاصيل للوصول الى الصورة المثالية التى يبحث عنها العميل فهدفنا الرئيسى هو ان نوفر لعملائنا الاعزاء الراحة النفسية كما تمتلك شركتنا
    افضل المعدات الحديثة وادوات النظافة العامة المطابقة للمواصفات لنصبح افضل شركة تنظيف منازل بالرياض كما نكون حريصين على استخدام افضل الخامات والمواد التنظيف التى تجعل منزلك نظيفا وجميلا والتى تمت تجربتها ومطابقتها للمواصفات اكثر من مرة للوصول الى الهدف المنشود .
    شركة تنظبف منازل بالرياض
    شركة تنظيف خزانات بجازان
    شركة تسليك مجارى بجازان

    شركة تنظيف بالرياض
    شركة تنظيف بالدمام
    شركة تنظيف بجازان
    شركة كشف تسربات المياه بجازان

    شركة مكافحة حشرات بجازان
    تعتبر شركه القائد من افضل الشركات فى تنظيف الخزانات بجازان فنحن نقوم بتقديم الخدمات المميزه التى تتحدث بالجوده والتميز دائما وتعمل الشركه جاهده على توفير المال والجهد للعميل فتقدم له افضل الخدمات فىتنظيف الخزانات والتى نؤديها بمهاره عاليه ودقه جيده ترى نتائجها من التعامل الاول مع الشركه فاذا كنت تشتكى من تسريب الخزان او كسره فان شركتنا عندها خبره وافيه فى هذا المجال ولها القدره على تنظيفه وتصليحه والتخلص من الروائح الكريهه والتخلص من مسببات التلوث الموجوده به وجعله كانه يبدو كالجديد تماما.
    شركة تنظيف بجازان
    نحن افضل شركة رش مبيدات بالدمام نحن نمتلك الخبرة الكبيرة جدا فى الرش ولدينا احدث الاجهزة الموجودة فى الاحساء والجبيل والخبر والقطيف والدمام نحن افضل شركة رش مبيد بالدمام نحن نعمل على مدار 24 ساعة يومين ولا نمل من الرش او المكافحة .رش المبيدات يحتاج الى شركة كبيرة جدا فى الرش ولديها خبرة كبيرة جدا نحن لدينا خبرة كبيرة جدة ولدينا اجهزة حديثه جدا فى الرش
    شركة مكافحة حشرات بالدمام
    شركة القائد من الشركات الاوله فى مجال تسليك المجارى بالرياض شركة القائد هى الشركة التى تعمل على تسليك المجارى باحدث الاجهزة الحديثة المتعدده فى مجال التسليك بالرياض نحن فى شركة القائد نعمل على تسليك المجارى بالرياض من قبل الاجهزة الالكترونية والعمال الذين يبدعون فى مجال التسليك المجارى بالرياض.
    شركة تنظيف بجدة
    شركة نقل اثاث بجازان

    شركة تسليك مجارى بالرياض
    اتصل بنا الان على افضل شركة تسليك مجارى بالرياض نحن الافضل فى الرياض


  4. نستخدم افضل المكينات المخصصه في تنظيف الموكيت والسجاد الخاص بالمساجد والتي تعمل عن طريق تنظيف موكيت المساجد بالمنظفات الحديثه لكي نصل الي اعلي مستوي من التنظيف

    كما ان جودة التنظيف الخاص بتنظيف الموكيت تعتمد علي نوعيته مع استخدام المكينات الحديثه وبالاضافه الي الايدي العامله المدربه حديثا

    شركة تنظيف مساجد بالرياض