Best Day Ever by Kaira Rouda – A Review
Rating – 3.5/5
Date of Publication : 19th September, 2017
What would your “Best Day Ever” look like?
I am confident that this question will garner a wide range of responses based on your personality and interests. I, doing justice to all the fibers of bookish-ness running through my body, would love to spend it curled up on my couch with a book and a steaming mug of black coffee. My husband, being the travel freak and gourmet that he is, would most likely spend it exploring exotic destinations and tasting native dishes from all over. I know a few people who would love to spend it in the gym counting the calories burnt – I know, what a waste to your best day!
Paul Strom and his wife Mia Pilmer are going to have their “Best Day Ever”. Married for ten years and parents to two young boys, the attraction between the couple has been waning for some time. However, Paul has great things planned for Mia on this day. They are travelling to their second home, the Lakehouse by River Erie, to spend a romantic day sans the boys. For an outsider, Paul and Mia are the embodiment of love and success – Paul, a thriving business executive and Mia, the perfect housewife, owners of a grand house in an upmarket suburb. What more do you need in life! As Mia steps into the car, Paul can feel an air of tension between them. Will the best day of their lives live up to the expectations of Paul as various skeletons tumble out of closet and uninvited neighbors seem poised to stay forever?
The story was narrated by Paul Strom, one of the characters that I have detested in the smallest time possible. Hardly fifty pages into the book, I was bristling with anger reading the chauvinistic and narcissistic outlook of Paul. My hatred was growing exponentially as the story progressed. Rouda has delved deep into the mind of women hating bigots and has created a character without even a single bone of amicability. Personally, I felt this was a daunting and harrowing task for a female author to create a man who visualizes women as an object for pleasure present only to do his bidding. Most of the character descriptions were from Paul Strom’s perspective and was heavily physical in nature with their emotional depth slowly revealed to readers through various incidents involving Paul. The relationship of Paul and Mia was central to the story and was explored in depth from its inception to their “best day ever”. The main flaw in Paul’s character formation was the absence of a solid back story giving insight to the protagonist’s troubled behavior. Although the author has given a peek into his past it was not robust enough to understand the character and his motivations. Sadly, this transformed Paul from a psychologically complex to an entirely single dimensional character without any aspect to smoothen his jagged edges. Hopefully, the author may explore it in depth in future books to come.
As the narration progressed and more of Paul’s eccentric behavior started to surface, it was easier to isolate the facts and fiction from his elaborate ruse. The narration was admirable as each incident being recounted a second time was used as a tool to explore Paul’s depravity. However, the plot fell short of being a shocking thriller as it became easier to see through all of Paul’s pompous boasting. There were no cleverly placed red-herrings or digressions in the plot that could have added elements of surprise to the entire story. To my disappointment, the story concluded in the most traditional way possible. The book initially had me on the edge with its momentum but soon descended to the safe zone of tried and tested results despite the extremely promising start. With some cleverly placed elements and twists, this novel could have easily become an extraordinary work.
What stood out for me was Kaira Rouda’s writing. She is an extremely gifted writer who has succeeded in writing a fast-paced mystery that does not lag for even a second. Half way through the book she has our hearts in our mouths, anticipating every single move of Mia and Paul. This quality is very hard to find among many of today’s mystery writers. Her language is excellent and showcases great skill in writing monologues that capture our attention. Even the conversations between the couple are reminiscent of a real life conversation. If the writing of this book is anything to go by, I will easily binge read her books with pleasure.
Overall, a good book that could have easily become an exceptionally great one with a little more rework in the plot and character formation. I would suggest all mystery lovers to still read it as it is an engaging fast paced read with a good quality writing.
About the Author :
Kaira Rouda is a USA TODAY bestselling, multiple award-winning author of contemporary fiction exploring what goes on behind closed doors of seemingly perfect lives. Her next novel, BEST DAY EVER, is out September 19th. She lives in Southern California with her family and is at work on her next novel. Connect with her on her website KairaRouda.com