LAST WOMAN STANDING: A Novel of Suspense
Author: Amy Gentry
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication: January 15, 2019
Page Count: 320 Page
My Rating: 5 Stars
About the Author (From Publisher’s Page):
AMY GENTRY is the author of Good as Gone, a New York Times Book Review Notable Book. She is also a book reviewer and essayist whose work has appeared in numerous outlets, including the Chicago Tribune, Salon, the Paris Review, the Los Angeles Review of Books, and the Austin Chronicle. She holds a Ph.D. in English from the University of Chicago and lives in Austin, Texas.
About LAST WOMAN STANDING (From Publisher’s Page):
From the author of Good as Gone (“So gripping you might want to start to question your own family’s past”—Entertainment Weekly) comes a brilliant and timely thriller: Strangers on a Train by way of Thelma and Louise.
Dana Diaz is an aspiring stand-up comedian—a woman in a man’s world. When she meets a tough computer programmer named Amanda Dorn, the two bond over their struggles in boys’ club professions. Dana confides that she’s recently been harassed and assaulted while in L.A., and Amanda comes up with a plan: they should go after each other’s assailants, Strangers on a Train–style. But Dana finds that revenge, however sweet, draws her into a more complicated series of betrayals. Soon her distrust turns to paranoia, encompassing strangers, friends—and even herself. At what cost will she get her vengeance? Who will end up getting hurt? And when it’s all over, will there be anyone left to trust?
OTHER BOOKS by AMY GENTRY:
GOOD AS GONE: When 13-year-old Julie Whitaker is kidnapped from her bedroom in the middle of the night, her family shatters. As the years go by and the search for Julie turns up nothing, even her mother Anna begins to lose hope. Then one night, the doorbell rings. A young woman who appears to be Julie is finally, miraculously, home safe. The family is ecstatic—only Anna can see the holes in Julie’s story. Fighting her worst fears, Anna begins a tortuous search for the truth about the young woman she desperately hopes is her daughter.
BOYS FOR PELE: It’s hard to think of a solo female recording artist who has been as revered or as reviled over the course of her career as Tori Amos. Amy Gentry argues that these violent aesthetic responses to Amos’s performance, both positive and negative, are organized around disgust—the disgust that women are taught to feel, not only for their own bodies but for their taste in music.
Released in 1996, Amos’s third album, Boys for Pele, represents the height of Amos’s willingness to explore the ugly qualities that make all of her music, even her more conventionally beautiful albums, so uncomfortably, and so wonderfully, strange. Using a blend of memoir, criticism, and aesthetic theory, Gentry argues that the aesthetics of disgust are useful for thinking in a broader way about women’s experience of all art forms.
I will not provide a synopsis of Last Woman Standing as what I’ve shared above from the publisher’s page is all that needs to be said. Writing a book review, in my humble opinion, is not merely writing a synopsis of the book, the publishers provide the summary. Writing a book review is also not about giving an established author’s second or third book a two or three-star rating because a reviewer preferred one of the author’s previous books. In this case, Amy Gentry’s novel Last Woman Standing did not live up to some reviewers’ expectations of Gentry’s previous novels. Last Woman Standing took some unfair bashing, but it will prevail nonetheless. As a writer, I take exception to book reviews that are not relevant to the novel. It’s wrong, unfair to the author, book sales, and are not authentic book reviews, as far as I am concerned.
I have yet to read Gentry’s books, Good as Gone and Boys for Pele, but I will, as time permits, as I find Gentry to be a brilliant, suspenseful and mainstream psychological/mystery author. By mainstream, I am referring to Gentry and her writing of the times we are currently living in. Many refer to it as the #METOO movement, and Gentry puts a face on the domestic and sexual violence, writing about the times we are all familiar with when it comes to all the misogyny, sexism, racism, etc., which makes her novel, although, fiction feel like nonfiction because no one can dispute this is a believable story. I applaud Amy Gentry for speaking out in a psychological thriller to what no one else is speaking to, domestic and sexual violence except for those writing memoirs or biographies.
It is the reality of Gentry’s thrilling novel that makes the Last Woman Standing a gripping, suspenseful, and surprising read. There were many surprises, such as the character of Betty. Those who know comedy, know that it’s typical for a comedian to have an alter-ego, and Betty was the perfect alter-ego for Dana. As a previous investigator, I find myself always attempting to get ahead of the author, to know where the story is going before the author takes me there, and to figure out what’s coming next, but just when I thought I had it all figured out in the Last Woman Standing, Gentry threw in twists that proved me wrong. Last Woman Standing will deliver a surprise you won’t see coming. Amy Gentry is a genius as a gifted and talented writer as you will find out for yourself by reading Last Woman Standing. Who do you think will be the last woman standing? You will have to read Gentry’s novel to find out.
I highly recommend Last Woman Standing to all those who are into mystery, and psychological thrillers. This novel does not disappoint. I’m going to go further and ask you not to allow the two and three-star book reviews you see to influence you reading this novel. The Last Woman Standing was not for those who left poor reviews. This novel was out of their genre. And any reviewer that reads, or attempts to read and review a book that is not part of their genre, are not usually going to find anything positive to write in a review. Many times they often never complete the reading of the book; leave a two or three sentence statement about how terrible the book is; or they write about how they did not like the novel because it did not go the way they, the reader thought the story should go; and they leave two and three-star ratings. Last Woman Standing is not a two-star novel, nor is it a three-star novel; the Last Woman Standing is a FIVE-STAR novel. Preorder your copy now; the release date is January 15, 2019.
Thank you to Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Amy Gentry and NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review this novel.