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Review of ‘Find Me’ by J.S. Monroe a hopeful beginning and a disappointing ending

“Find Me” is a fiction novel written by a U.K. writer J.S. Monroe, and first published in the U.K. in 2017 by independent publisher Head of Zeus.

I picked up this book at the Schiphol International Airport in Amsterdam, while waiting for my flight to New York to board. The conveniently light paperback book cover is what attracted me to it in the first place. The artwork depicts a woman’s face blurred beneath the deep-sea blue water. This particular color happens to be my favorite, and the thought of having something of the ocean in my hands comforted me, after grayish waters of the Bosphorus river in Istanbul. After spending 10 days in Turkey, meeting people, sightseeing, I was looking forward to reading a good book on my journey back to the States, and boy, ‘Find Me’ is a good book.

I didn’t start reading the book until the day after I bought it, on my one hour and 15 minute flight from New York to Boston. After reading the first two or three pages on take-off, I couldn’t put the book down; maybe only during the landing. I read most of it on my five-hour bus ride to Bangor, doing something that I never usually do — compromising my eyesight. The book was so thrilling that I couldn’t stop reading it while in line to transfer the bus from Portland.

This book really grabbed me, I couldn’t get enough of it. I got to the end of the chapter and needed to read the next.

“Find Me” is a thriller set in England. Set in Cambridge, it follows the mysterious suicide of Rosa Sandhoe, the love of the main protagonist Jar Costello’s life. Despite it being a thriller, the narrative is intertwined with romance and comedy. The story of how Costello and Sandhoe meet at Cambridge is truly endearing and relatable to college students. There are certain lines in the book that might relate to people who are going through the phases of getting to know someone, opening up to someone for the first time in a long time. The dialogue in this book is filled with good British and Irish humor that made me laugh on the plane, on the bus, and even now, thinking back to some of the jokes.

Reading this novel was like drifting into a different world. The only downside is that you have to snap out of it to reality, which involved asking for the directions to the connecting flight, returning to the daily work and realizing that time does not stop for anyone.

And now comes the downside. This book is a spy thriller turned psychological thriller; the spy part is okay with me, but the psychological part threw me off big time. I went back to re-read the pages on several occasions, if you read it, you’ll know why. Re-reading is the important part of finding out what really happened to Sandhoe. I know that thrillers are meant to throw you off, but this was too twisted for my liking, to the point where you don’t know what’s real or what’s totally impossible, which isn’t fun to the reader. J.K. Rowling’s series on private investigator Cormoran Strike published under the alias of Robert Galbraith are of the similar genre, but much better executed, making them much more pleasing to read.

I had such high hopes for this book, but it let me down with a disappointing ending. What started like an interesting, coming of age college romance turned into a weirdly twisted thriller that, well, felt rushed and pieced together as if the writer didn’t know how to finish the gem he created.

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