A new and irresistible anti-heroine

Mad by Chloe Esposito

Mad is the first part in a trilogy by debut author Esposito – to be followed by Bad and Dangerous to Know,  and judging by the first part, I’ll definitely be reading the others. The ARC I received had a fold out front cover with the other two and as you can see, there will be a lot more action and fun to come!

Our heroine cum anti-heroine – I couldn’t quite decide which she is, is Alvina Knightly. She has a distinguishing feature – she is one of that rare breed who was born with her heart on the wrong side of her thorax, in fact all her organs are reversed. She lives in a dingy flat-share in London and is also completely broke, having just chucked her job in. She is very sassy and has an interesting turn of phrase …

I change trains at Tottenham Court Road. The carriage empties its bowels and we disembark as amorphous excrement. I am defecated at Oxford Circus.
Outside, the air is thick as lard.

Alvina is also an identical twin. Her sister Beth is the successful one, their mother’s favourite – married to a gorgeous Italian, living in Sicily, and with a little boy Ernesto. Beth has been nagging Alvie to come and see them, Alvie has resisted – not sure whether Beth has fully forgiven her for an encounter with Ambrogio – they are that identical!  Still with no job now, there’s nothing stopping her, and Beth’s paying.

To cut a long story short, Beth wants Alvie to do her a favour – to pretend to be her for just a few hours. Alvie agrees, knowing she’s not allowed to shag Ambogio again. Later that night, Beth finally returns and will end up dead. Alvie will take over her life, but discover that all is not happy in Sicily leading to a real roller coaster ride of an adventure with fast cars, guns for hire as Alvie finds out what Beth had married into.

Alvie really begins to come into her own as a femme fatale, and relishes the trappings of Beth’s life, but she’ll need to be very clever to come out alive at the end. However, Alvie doesn’t see herself yet as quite the sociopath she actually is:

Who’d be able to sleep on a night like this? Who in their right mind? You’d have to be a sociopath. A textbook psycho: Thomas Ripley or Patrick Bateman. Or Amy Dunne. Given the choice, I’d be Amy, or one of those glamorous psychopaths you read about in books. But I’m not. I care. I want to know.

Put a weapon in Alvie’s hand and you know she’d use it, in the same way she’ll shag any good looking man that comes her way. She is raunchy and funny, as well as potty-mouthed, self-obssesed and up for adventure. I was trying to think of someone to compare her too, but couldn’t come up with any anti-heroines except the aforementioned Amy, who has no sense of humour.  Alvina lives entirely in the moment, she doesn’t plan, and that’s why we’re willing to run with her, although she’s not a good girl – we hope she can turn into one – eventually! (8.5/10)


Source: Publisher – Thank you

Chloe Esposito, Mad (Michael Joseph, 15/6/17) Hardback, 400 pages.

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