One of The Good Guys – Araminta Hall

A propulsive and twisty page-turner with razor-sharp sociopolitical insight,  One of the Good Guys asks: if most men claim to be good, why are most women still afraid to walk home alone at night?

Newly separated from his wife and desperate to escape the ghosts of his failed marriage, Cole leaves London for a fresh start in the countryside. He accepts a job as a wildlife ranger and settles into his cozy seaside cottage, relishing the respite from the noise, drama, and relentless careerism that curdled his relationship along with his mental health. Then he meets Leonora, the reclusive artist living next door, and is instantly charmed by her warm and gentle spirit.

But as the two forge a connection on the cliff’s edge they call home, two young women activists raising awareness about gendered violence disappear while passing through. Cole and Leonora find themselves in the middle of a police investigation and resulting media firestorm as the world learns of what happened, and as the tension escalates, they quickly realize that they don’t know each other that well after all.

From the critically acclaimed author of Our Kind of Cruelty and Imperfect Women comes an urgent psychological thriller about gender, power, and how both are captured in contemporary media.

Book Info: 288 pages. Publisher: MacMillan. Publication Date: 4 Jan 2024

My Review

I absolutely adored Araminta Hall’s previous book Our Kind of Cruelty (see my review here) and when I started to see Gillian Flynn recommending One of the Good Guys all over social media, my FOMO kicked it. So, when Anne Cater of Random Things Tours offered me a spot on the blogtour I jumped at the chance.

One of The Good Guys is the story of Cole. He’s recently separated from his wife of 7 years, Mel. She is the love of his life but the marriage has broken down irretrievably. He’s hurting emotionally and decides to move away to a remote location and try to rebuild his life. Starting a job as a wildlife ranger Cole meets Leonora, a reclusive artist who lives in a cottage on the cliffs and they strike up an immediate friendship.

When two young female activists disappear in close proximity to Cole and Leonora’s houses, they both become the focus of police and media scrutiny. With extracts from social media posts and news articles the reader is able to follow the thoughts of the public during the frantic hunt for the two missing girls.

During the first part of the book, when Cole is narrating his story, it’s difficult to feel anything but sorry for him, although at times when he recounts his marriage and what Mel put him through, there are some warning signs that perhaps his recollections may be slighted one-sided.

When the reader finally meets Mel, and she begins to tell her side of the story, I was well and truly gob-smacked. The pace of the story completely changes and as more secrets are revealed, the tension starts mounting and I absolutely couldn’t put this book down.

One of the Good Guys is a very clever story, told with several points of view, several versions of the same story, his side, her side and then the truth.

Rating: 4 out of 5.