ARC Review: One Got Away

One Got Away by S.A. Lelchuk

Pub Date: April 13, 2021

One Got Away by S.A. Lelchuk is the second book in the Nikki Griffith series. I won this book in an Instagram giveaway by Flatiron Books so while I hadn’t read the first novel, I was still very much looking forward to reading this one. (I mean, who wins Instagram giveaways?! That rarely happens for me.)

Nikki Griffith is a bookstore owner/private investigator who will track down all the creepy bad guys for a fee. Not being familiar with the series, I was nervous about a disconnect between the first book and this one, but it worked well as a stand-alone and the writing was enough to hook me. As I read, though, I started to get annoyed with the characters. For one, every person feels like a shallow stereotype; all the people Nikki meets are extremely cliché and predictable.

For example, take the premise of the novel: a wealthy client meets with Nikki to investigate a man he believes is conning his socialite, stupidly-rich mother. When Nikki meets this man she seems to already know the situation is cliché because in the narration we read she says, “I’m surprised he didn’t say, ‘leave no stone unturned’.” And then believe it or not, he says it! So cliché!

I mean, if you say so, Nikki. I haven’t read enough PI novels to know what the client is going to ask for, but you said it, not me. Anyway, this made me feel like Nikki thinks she’s smarter than everyone she meets which, spoiler alert, she does. She also felt like a stereotype of a man’s dream girl: super hot, book AND street smart, and uber cool because she rides a motorcycle. Anybody you come across in the novel is going to remind you how hot she is, so don’t forget it. It’s apparently super important.

There’s also a mafia boss with a crew of henchmen; a lot of gun fights; a tough guy who gets shot and doesn’t care; a fancy, rich heiress; oh, and ethics. Nikki’s got mad ethics. So overall the book was pretty exciting, it was cool to find out what was gonna happen next even though it was just more people being predictable (but not because the author wrote them that way, just because we all know people are so predictable, right? [They’re not.] But also because stereotypes are predictable, obviously.) But yeah, I guess in the end Nikki was super predictable and I’m not sure whether that was a good thing or a bad thing.

So to wrap it all up, this book had me somewhere in between 3 and 4 stars. There were a couple of moments I can think back on that felt they could authentically happen in real life, but the fact that everyone is a glaring stereotype got pretty annoying. So round up? Round down? It’s a tough call. But there were some pretty nice writing moments that saved this review and that takes it up to 4 stars for me.

Thank you to the publisher Flatiron Books for hosting the giveaway and gifting me an eARC of this book!

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