The Stories You Tell will quite likely by one of my biggest reading disappointments of 2019. This third instalment featuring PI Roxane Weary has made the characters established in book 1 and 2 sketches of their former selves. What is perhaps even worse is that much of The Stories You Tell is a blatant rip-off of (view spoiler).
In many ways The Stories You Tell negates the characters’ dynamics and developments that occurred in The Last Place You Look and What You Want To See. Roxane’s personality, which so strongly dictated the storylines of book 1 and 2, has receded into a mere parody of her former self. While previously she struck me as headstrong and resilient in spite of her troubles, in The Stories You Tell she was annoying, self-centred, and rude. Most of her interactions with the various individuals connected to disappearance of this Mackenzie seemed to follow the same formula: she poses stupid questions, makes poorly veiled accusations, and does not advance the case.
The ‘story’ as such is made up by scenes in which Roxane ‘interrogates’ various people…these dialogues were for the most part boring so much so that you could predict the way the would conclude (spoiler: nothing much would be revealed).
Then we have Roxane whining about her relationship to her deceased father, whining that her girlfriend doesn’t demonstrate her love for her (and yet for Roxane it is okay to keep her gf at a distance…double standards much?), whining some more about this and that. The suspects and persons of interest were so forgettable that I kept confusing them for one another.
Roxane joined the trend of constantly dismissing the men she encounters as ‘ugh those straight men’, ‘ugh those white men’. Let’s keep in mind that I am 1) a woman 2) not straight, and yet, this constant and obvious ‘haha men suck’ banter was really cheap. If the story and the characterisations of these men could have conveyed that they were ‘bad’ good, but being told time and again ‘they suck’ isn’t reason enough why I should dislike them.
Roxane’s girlfriend is dismissed early on in the narrative and, rather predictably, she turns into (view spoiler)
The ‘twist’ was both laughable and unimaginative. There are a few lines that can be found in a lot of ‘domestic thriller’ novels:
Roxane is made to seem this iconic woman who takes no shit from anyone but is actually unable to act like an adult or do her job properly.
With great sadness I bid this series goodbye as I won’t be following Roxane’s journey into mediocrity.
My rating: ★★✰✰✰ 2 stars