A Necessary End | Holly Brown

TITLE / A Necessary End

AUTHOR / Holly Brown

PUBLISHER / William Morrow, an imprint of HarperCollins


NO. OF PAGES / 386


Within the pages of Holly Brown's A Necessary End, I discovered some of the most twisted characters I've yet to encounter.

Meet Adrienne and Gabe, a couple that has been together since high school and now lives in California's Bay Area. Gabe is a car salesman and Adrienne teaches at a local elementary school, but their seemingly happy life is darkened by the fact that they are unable to have children of their own. Adrienne has become obsessed with finding a baby she can call her own and makes contact with a potential birth mother, the beautiful nineteen year old Leah. Despite a previous bad experience with a birth mother, Adrienne is convinced that Leah is the one and opens up their home to the girl, even when Leah lays down some pretty shocking conditions.

Meanwhile Gabe, still haunted by his younger brother's suicide, isn't so sure he's interested in becoming a father. Not that his feelings really matter, because Adrienne is determined to get Leah's baby, no matter the cost.

All of the characters in this book are sickening in their selfishness and obsessive behavior. Adrienne is completely single minded to the point that she is willing to throw away her relationship with Gabe and ruin Leah if it means finally getting the baby she's always wanted. Gabe is a middle-aged man with a juvenile mindset, who can't seem to understand why Adrienne would want to throw away their life of weekends at the casino and nights of streamy sex. And Leah, well, that girl was trouble from the second she walked in. You just didn't know exactly how it was going to manifest.

I think part of what makes this novel so scary is that these characters and situations actually seem plausible. There are women out there who want children so badly that they're willing to do practically anything, and there are men who couldn't care less. Even more sadly, there are horrible people willing to prey on these weaknesses. Holly Brown has done a fantastic job of writing characters that are horrifying in their realness.

There were, however, a couple of places where this novel fell flat for me. The first was the seemingly endless descriptions of poker games. Maybe it's because I'm not a card player myself, but I found the lengthy passages describing specific poker moves and strategies so incredibly boring that I eventually started skimming those passages.

Secondly, the ending was entirely disappointing. Holly Brown did such a fantastic job of creating suspense and constantly throwing a wrench in the different character's plans, but in the end I felt she rushed through the ending and it showed. We ended up with one of those nice little endings were things are suspiciously happy and almost all the loose ends are all tied up. I hate endings like that generally, and this one was just so unplausible and out of character that it significantly lowered my opinion of the novel.

All in all, A Necessary End is a unique twist on a pyschological thriller that definitely had me creeped out at every turn. I, for one, would never want any of these people to be left alone with a baby.

Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. I was not paid to review or feature the book, and this review is my 100% honest opinion. This is not a sponsored post.


Battleship USS Iowa

When my family asked what I wanted to do for my birthday, I said something different. So what did they come up with? They took me to visit the Battleship USS Iowa in Los Angeles!

It might sound a little odd, but it was honestly a great time, despite the near 100 degree heat. They offer a fantastic self-guided tour that teaches you a lot of history about not just the battleship, but about the experience of men who served on the ship in different periods of history. So if you're interested in American or military history, or just want a chance to climb all over a historic battleship, I would highly recommend a visit!


Old School / September Playlist

  1. The Girl from Impanema / Nat King Cole
  2. The Lady is a Tramp / Frank Sinatra
  3. Rumor Has It / Adele
  4. Jimmy, Renda-se / Tom Ze & Valdez
  5. Sway (Quien Sera) / Dean Martin
  6. Come Fly With Me / Frank Sinatra
  7. Bust Your Knee Caps / Pomplamoose
  8. Take Care of Business / Nina Simone
  9. Lovesong / Adele
  10. L-O-V-E / Nat King Cole


The Millennium Trilogy / What I Love About Lisbeth Salandar

Last week I finally finished The Girl who Kicked the Hornet's Nest and completed the Stieg Larsson's original Millennium Trilogy. And if I'm honest, I already miss it.

I remember when these books first hit shelves, mainly because of the hype around the mysterious character Lisbeth Salandar. She was skinny, sexually ambiguous, tattooed, and antisocial. She was a genius with computers with fuzzy moral standards and an uncanny ability to kick the crap out of men twice her size.

In a word, Salandar was spectacular and the genre had yet to see anyone like her.

Of course, there is more to love about Larsson's novels than one kick-ass character. I also personally love that Blomkvist was a journalist, partially because I love the idea of writers being in the thick of the mystery and partially because it allowed Larsson to add that oh so popular crime-fighting civilian while avoiding all of the potential pitfalls of the trope. Blomkvist's crazy investigative skills and impressive contacts could be explained away by his profession instead of creating all kinds of problematic plot holes.

I also have a bit of a love/hate relationship with Larsson's writing. When he goes on and on about some political history or introduces yet another new character with a complex background that he wants to discuss in detail, I do find myself drifting a bit. Sometimes, he verged on over-informing, on over-explaining. And yet when he stops in the middle of a gripping legal scene to describe in detail how Blomkvist and the others take their coffee, I am hooked. I didn't even realize how tense and suspenseful the novel was until I finished it at three in the morning with a horrid feeling of "That's it?"

However, I think that what I like the most about the Millennium Trilogy is that Lisbeth gets herself into trouble and then gets herself back out of it. Although at first it seems Blomkvist will be the one to save Salandar - he is the one that does all the research, running around, and reputation-shattering writing and publishing, after all - ultimately, he cannot finish the job without Salandar's unique set of skills. And thus, in a series of novels so concerned with society's treatment of women, Salandar proves to be strong enough to help out the male Blomkvist and chooses to save herself.

Now Blomkvist and Salandar's adventures have been picked up by a rather brave man, the journalist David Lagercrantz. His first Millennium novel (because I think it's safe to say that the original trilogy stands on its own), The Girl in the Spider's Web, came out earlier this month and I cannot wait to dive back into the world Larsson first created. Of course, I think I'll have to wait awhile to distance myself from Larsson's last novel.

If the passionate ramblings above are any indicator, I think Lagercrantz has some very large shoes to fill.