Book Review - Beautiful Bad by Annie Ward
Annie Ward came to St. Louis to speak at the Novel Neighbor (a local bookstore I’m lucky to work with often!) and I’m SO BUMMED I was out of town for the event. It looked like so much fun. When the book’s publicist first reached out to me, she hooked me by saying there was already a movie deal announced with Warner Bros. Pictures and Sue Kroll as executive producer (the same producer for A Star is Born!) With such big names behind this book already, I had to squeeze this one into my schedule (which is one reason why I have three book reviews posting this week!)
A little while ago I poo-pooed the domestic thriller genre for being awfully predictable. So although this one does fall into the domestic thriller genre, it was anything but predictable. It is about a couple who met by chance at a party while they were both working overseas. They both travelled extensively for work, often in the most dangerous areas on earth. The work was stressful and the income was often unreliable. They eventually settle down in the mid-west (I loved reading about Kansas City!) to raise a family and live a quieter life. But after a camping accident that leaves Maddie badly scarred, she isn’t quite the same person anymore.
I love how the author organized this book. The chapters were often titled by how many weeks before or after the killing took place, which helped build the suspense. I really enjoyed reading a domestic thriller that wasn’t just a bored housewife or abusive husband in middle America. There was more to this story than that, including themes of PTSD and brain trauma. I also liked that the story was mostly told from the wife’s perspective but every once in awhile we would get the husband’s views and even other character’s observations. I can easily see why this book was optioned for a movie before it was even released.
I took these photos while on vacation in Sedona, AZ. We took a day trip to Jerome, an old mining-town turned ghost town turned artists haven. It reminded me a bit of Eureka Springs, AR…if you’ve been there. It is perched high on the mountain side with narrow roads winding up the mountain. Most of the city is pictured behind me in these photos, which I took at the Douglas Mansion in the Jerome State Historic Park. We learned a lot about the history of the town in a video showing at the mansion.