Bookish, Reviews

Review: “Widows,” Lynda La Plante

I’m coming at you today with another book review for BookishFirst.  Widows is a republication of an old crime fiction classic.  La Plante is now a household name in terms of this genre, so it was fun as a newer reader of hers to “go back to the beginning,” if you will…


A big thank you to BookishFirst and Bonnier Zaffre for an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Widows tells the story of three widows who come together after their husbands’ deaths to complete the crime that killed the men.  As they train themselves to be robbers extraordinaire, murder, mayhem, and bumbling police forces follow hot on their tails.  Can they work through their own differences to come together as a team and pull off the crime of the century?

I enjoyed a lot of this book, and I think it’s going to make an excellent film (loosely interpreted, and set in America, but still!).  I did find the story a little long and overbearing, but I think this book deserves the accolades for what it accomplished in its (original) time.

The plot to Widows is nice and twisty-turny, just the way a good mystery should be.  You’re left guessing through most of the book on some pretty Big Issues, which can keep the reader engaged all the way through.  Again, I found it to be a little long. My ARC weighed in at just over 400 pages, and with the plot starting after the husbands are killed and ending (without spoiling too much) after the heist, there seems to be a lot of dead time in the middle.  That being said, I found the beginning and the ending to be very engaging and enjoyable.

While I didn’t really like any of these characters individually, I loved their interplay.  Each character in the four-woman main gang is very different from the next, which leads to some high drama and cat fighting.  I liked this distinction and the resulting messiness. I found the group to be a pretty accurate representation of a group of women who are trying to work together–not because they are incapable (in fact, in this book they proved themselves to be very capable, indeed), but because their dysfunction is different from a male-made group.  Their own tension is uniquely theirs, and I found this to be one of the best parts of the book.

I didn’t really care for any of the male characters in this story, with the exception of Wolf (who I think is dealt a pretty bad hand).  Perhaps this is the point, considering the woman-focus of the story. Still, I found all of Resnick’s chapters extremely difficult to read.

Some of this book feels dated, which makes sense considering when it was first published, but it also seems to clash with the re-release and the upcoming film.  I found the writing to be a bit dry, which I’ve mentioned made it hard to read through the whole thing. However, La Plante has an excellent handle on her plot and she delivers a good amount of information at the right times to create a mystery and reveal through the story.

Overall, I feel solidly OK about this.  Was it my favorite book? No way. Will people who appreciate the organized crime fiction genre like it?  Most likely. And will I check out the film loosely based on it when it’s released? Definitely!


Future Things to Watch for:

a) A complete review of The Summer of Jordi Perez (and the Best Burger in Los Angeles)\

b) A complete review of Rise of the Superheroes: Greatest Silver Age Comic Books and Characters

c) Maybe a book tag, or two?  I’m considering the “Terrible Tomes” tag, which I’ve seen on YouTube.  If anyone else has suggestions, let me know!




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