Caroline Kepnes has one of the most unique voices in modern fiction, and by this point I will buy anything of hers on day one. No questions asked. She’s that good, folks. When the opportunity arose for me to read and review her new novel, Providence, some four months before release date, I jumped at the chance. And here we are.
The first fifty or so pages of this book is some of Kepnes’s finest writing to date. The reader is introduced to Jon and Chloe, best friends in junior high, and they immediately jumped off the page. Kepnes’s first two novels didn’t really feature kids, so it’s here she shows she can write them just as well as adults.
And then . . . we go forward in time, after some crazy circumstances tear these friends apart. The reader is introduced to Egg and Lo, a married couple; we also get to see other characters as they develop through the years. It’s all still very good — Kepnes really can’t write badly — but I must admit I felt a little deflated after the excellent opening chapters. Don’t get me wrong; I enjoyed this read through and through. It is a crime thriller of the highest order: likable characters and copious Lovecraft references make this a highly enjoyable read. I just felt there was a bit too much pining on the part of a couple of the leads. I don’t want to go into spoiler territory here, but at times I just felt this novel wasn’t living up to its potential. Kepnes has created a neat concept and doesn’t really utilize it much, and when she does it feels rushed.
Don’t get me wrong: I loved this book. It is beautifully written and shows this author is able to stretch her wings and try new things. Fans of her previous releases will find much to love about this.