NEW RELEASE BOOK REVIEW: With Malice by Eileen Cook

1-4My streak of thrillers continues with With Malice by Eileen Cook. A surprising story about a young woman who might be responsible for the death of her best friend.

With Malice is the story of a high-school senior named Jill wakes up in the hospital with no memory of the past six weeks. The six weeks include a trip to Italy, a car accident, and the death of her best friend Simone. Told from Jill’s perspective, the story follows her as she attempts to piece together what happened on the school trip.

Mixed with Jill’s recovery and therapy are accounts of the incident from other people involved that give some perspective to Jill and Simone’s relationship and the events that occurred on the trip.

With Malice is a book that I couln’t wait read. I picked this book up and I devoured it in three days.  Cook creates tension really well and spaces out the information we gather through Jill’s dreams and the police report with a very steady pace.

There’s also an uncertainty in Jill’s character that everyone can identify with. She’s faced with this impossible accusation that she may have killed her best friend. There’s no real proof, no way for her mount a defense.

Anything that is going to help her recover her memories can be used in court. It’s a rock-and-a-hard place situation and I kept reading because I really wanted to see how Jill dealt with these events and these impossible accusations.

One of the reasons that I was drawn to this book was because it sounded a bit like a well-known case that occurred in the news with a lot of creative license.

The other thing that this book sounded like from the blurb was ABC’s Revenge, that wasn’t so much in plot but I expected Jill to be well-to-do and have an army of a defense team, which she did.

What works for this story is the first person perspective mixed with the police interviews and incident reports. Through those we slowly get more information about Jill and Simone and how their friendship worked. Between those two elements we get a really interesting take on how the media percieves these-high profile crimes.

We have the court of pubic opinion in the form of the “Justice for Simone” blog, we have the side of justice with the cops, we have international law brought into it with the Italian witnesses, and we have Jill herself who is lost in this entire processes.

I would recommend With Malice for anyone who wants a great read that will make you think. It’s an enjoyable book with some interesting characters that stay with you.

It’s been about two days since I finished this book and I am really still thinking Jill and how she processes emotion. The same way that Luckiest Girl Alive created a compelling narrative, With Malice does the same for a new set of societal behaviors.

And by the end, I am still not sure which way I would swing in Jill’s case if I had to serve on a jury.

Final Rating: 4 Stars

With Malice will be released on 6/7! Want to pick up your own copy? Pre-order through your local independent bookseller, Barnes and Noble, or Amazon.

Published by Lauren Busser

Lauren Busser is a fiction writer and essayist. She is an associate editor at Tell-Tale TV, where she writes about all things tv. She has had fiction appear in five : 2 : one magazine’s #thesideshow and her nonfiction has appeared in Bitch Media and The Hartford Courant. You can find her talking about tv, film, and knitting on Twitter @LaurenBusser.

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