Synopsis from Macmillan Publishers:
Bringing to mind Gillian Flynn and Tana French but completely unique, Marie Rutkoski’s Real Easy is a compulsive, tenacious, and unexpectedly hopeful thriller.
It’s 1999 and Samantha has danced for years at the Lovely Lady strip club. She’s not used to mixing work and friendship—after all, between her jealous boyfriend and his young daughter, she has enough on her plate. But the newest dancer is so clueless that Samantha feels compelled to help her learn the hustle and drama of the club: how to sweet-talk the boss, fit in with the other women, and make good money. One night, when the new girl needs a ride home, Samantha agrees to drive: a simple decision that turns deadly.
Georgia, another dancer drawn into the ensuing murder and missing person investigation, gathers information for Holly, a grieving detective determined to solve the case. Georgia just wants to help, but her involvement makes her a target. As Holly and Georgia round up their suspects, the story’s point of view shifts between dancers, detectives, children, club patrons—and the killer.
Drawing on her experience as a former dancer, Marie Rutkoski immerses us in the captivating world of the club, which comes alive with complicated people trying their best to protect themselves and those they love. Character-driven and masterfully plotted, Real Easy gets to the heart of the timeless question: How do women live their lives knowing that men can hurt them?
About: Real Easy is an LGBT mystery thriller written by Marie Rutkoski. It was published on 1/18/2022 by Henry Holt and Co, an imprint of Macmillan Publishers, audiobook, narrator Eva Kaminsky, 10 hours and 28 minutes. The genres are mystery thriller, adult fiction, and LGBT. Other books by this author I have read: The Winner’s Curse, The Winner’s Kiss, The Winner’s Crime, The Midnight Lie, and The Hollow Heart. According to the publisher’s website, “Holt and Company, founded more than 150 years ago, has not only endured since its days of publishing Robert Louis Stevenson novels and Robert Frost poetry, but it has distinguished itself with a dynamic list of award-winning and bestselling fiction (Hilary Mantel’s magnificent Wolf Hall trilogy and Susan Choi’s Trust Exercise, winner of the 2019 National Book Award), history (Pulitzer Prize winner Rick Atkinson’s Revolution Trilogy), politics (Stacey Abrams and Elizabeth Warren), mysteries and thrillers, biography, science (Elizabeth Kolbert’s Pulitzer-winning The Sixth Extinction), popular culture, and psychology.” Please see below for more information about the author and publisher.
My Experience: I started listening to an audiobook for Real Easy on 1/18/2022 and finished it on 1/25/2022. A packed audiobook! The narrator did a good job with voices and tones. Some parts were thrilling especially near the end when the killer was about to be found out. I liked that there’s a view of the killer. There seemed to be new character introductions every other chapter which I didn’t care for and frankly wane my interest. I don’t mind more details to 3-5 views but there seemed to be as many as 10 views. I would want to know the killer’s intent every step of the way including his feelings and thoughts during the kill and disposal instead of learning more about additional side characters. I thought Holly’s mystery with her kid repeated a bit often. I enjoyed the interview with the author at the end of the audiobook. I understand her reasons for multiple characters but I would rather have more detailed information of the main characters.
This story started with Samantha (Ruby) as she worked as a dancer at the club. She was working on Rudy to earn a few bucks. Then she went home to her boyfriend Nick and his daughter Rosie, 8. Later she was invited by a client to hang out with him at a casino for extra money. Nick was upset and choked her. Samantha made $1k a night. She noticed the new girl Jolene struggle in this job so she helped showed her the way. Samantha was born with a syndrome where she’s half man and half woman and needed to take hormones pills. One night Jolene was drugged at work and Samantha offered to take her home. A car followed them. The second view was Georgia (Gigi). She also danced at the club. She used her mom’s sickness as her excuse but her mom actually died already. The third view was Detective Victor. The fourth view was Holly. Holly worked with detective Victor. Jolene was left for dead and Samantha was kidnapped. The fifth view was Melody. Her mom Sasha danced at the club. The sixth view was Him. The man called to talk to Rosie. There were many other minor views of different dancers and police officers. The detectives job was to find out where Samantha is after they found Jolene’s body.
Real Easy is a mystery thriller focusing around a strip club and its dancers. Then there were stories of women left for dead and a killer is on the loose. There was an attempt from the killer wanting to do pedophile but there weren’t any physical activities besides a phone call. One dancer fall for someone but it seemed sudden because there weren’t months of longing. There was a hint of family abuse between boyfriend to girlfriend and mother to daughter. There was date rape drugs and imperfect police. I have read two YA fantasy series from the author and loved it so despite not enjoying this mystery thriller as much as the fantasies, I would still read her next book.
I rate it 4 stars!
About the Author:
Born in Illinois, Marie Rutkoski is a graduate of the University of Iowa and Harvard University. She is a professor of English literature at Brooklyn College and a New York Times bestselling author of books for children and young adults. She lives in Brooklyn with her family. (Photo and info obtained from Macmillan’s website).
More Information About Macmillan Audio
***Disclaimer: Many thanks to Macmillan Audio for the opportunity to listen and review via NetGalley. Please be assured that my opinions are honest.