On paper, Beth Montgomery’s life appears picture perfect. She has a beautiful house, an enriching career and she is married to the love of her life, Jay. But under the harsh lights of reality, they are on the brink of bankruptcy, her career is dissatisfying, and life feels empty and dull. One day, after a particularly vicious fight with her husband, Beth receives a mysterious phone call asking for Cassie – her old estranged college roommate. Soon after Cassie shows up in Los Angeles, as wild and out of control as during their college time, pretending like the last years never happened. Meanwhile, Los Angeles is abuzz with the news of a multiple homicide and a drug deal gone awry. The police are on the scent of the two people who allegedly fled the scene with a million dollars between them.
I am generally wary of thrillers, of the same tired tropes serving as plot twists. So, it was with some trepidation that I started reading Framed by S.L McInnis. However, to my complete delight, the plot is watertight and the final explanation hugely satisfying. The author successfully bringing her characters to life and I found myself hating, raging and sympathizing at the players in this mystery. There’s the vapid Beth tormented by events in her past, the despicable Jay blinded by his ambition and the massively manipulative Cassie who appears to be at the center of it all. McInnis does a commendable job writing these rather unlovable characters.
My only complaint, and it is a minor one, is that the book takes a little longer than necessary to reel you in. It starts with Beth driving furiously through streets thick with police cars and almost meeting the people fleeing the crime scene. However, it takes a while for the reader to connect the dots and follow the narrative. Nonetheless, this book kept me on my toes until the very last page. Told through viewpoints alternating between Beth, Cassie, Jay and a few other characters, McInnis plays a masterful puppeteer managing multiple storylines to tie all the threads together in a neat little bow.
Nothing is as it seems in this story. Or is it? Complete with false leads, superfluous characters serving to distract, a gripping atmosphere and fast-paced storytelling, this book is an extremely engaging and enjoyable read.
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