PLOT: 4/5

“I’m a woman, which means I have to expect to be seen as an unlikable character.”

Araminta Hall, One of the Good Guys

I’ve been immersing myself in a lot of women-centric books lately, many celebrating the spirit of womanhood. However, recently, I stumbled upon “One of the Good Guys,” which sheds light on the ongoing plight of women worldwide.

It showcases their struggles today while also portraying women standing up for themselves. This book is best enjoyed with a blind approach if trigger warnings don’t affect you.

The story of One of the Good Guys (spoiler-free)

Cole takes a break from his job and his life in London and comes to live in a remote coastal town away from London to refigure his life after his failed marriage. He had always wanted to be away from all the hustle and bustle of London and had even suggested moving away to his now ex-wife Mel, who has a very successful career in a PR consultancy firm.

But as they settled into the relationship and started planning for a child, things started to fizzle between them and failed IVF only created the ultimate rift, making Cole move away.

Leonara, an artist, comes to live in the same coastal town just meters away from Cole, seeking solace much like him. As she plans her next art exhibit, their paths intertwine, forging an unexpected bond. In the eerie, cold, and deserted nights, their unlikely friendship blossoms, offering comfort amidst solitude.

Their peaceful life suddenly gets disrupted when two young female activists disappear near their house. The two had been walking the entire coastal line, while raising awareness against gendered violence and had camped near their houses.

Both Cole and Leonara are caught in the middle of a police investigation, and due to the popularity of these young women, media havoc is created, and the entire nation is caught up in this disappearance.

As the investigation proceeds, both Cole and Leonara realize that they do not know who the other person is and if they can be trusted.

What happened to both of these girls?

What part did Cole and Leonara play in their disappearance?

My thoughts

This book would be best enjoyed if you go in blind. There are quite a few trigger warnings in the book, but if they do not affect you, then do not read the blurb; just go in blind, as what the book wants to convey and what the blurb says – are two different things.

Of course, there is a mystery to it, but it takes a very small part in the book. The main themes that this book addresses are gaslighting, consent BDSM, violence towards women, and misogyny.

Now, the question arises: what is gaslighting? In simple terms, it means manipulating another person into doubting their thoughts, understanding, and even experiences. It’s a common yet equally disturbing problem, akin to abuse.

How it’s executed is subtly and cleverly depicted to us readers. As the title suggests, “One of the Good Guys,” Cole genuinely believes he is one of the good guys and falls into that category. The initial part of the book is from his perspective, narrating his life story in a way that evokes empathy from the reader. However, a lingering feeling of something being amiss suggests there’s more to the story than meets the eye.

Then you come to Mel’s POV, and the husband-wife dynamic is explored more. Mind you, even Mel has grey traits.

Leonora is the main binding factor in the book. As we start reading her perspective, we realize that there is more to her than meets the eye. She is hiding something, and it’s only in the climax that we come to know the actual plan or what’s actually happening, which, though questionable, successfully achieves what the book was set out for.

The book works very well. It is a classic example of smart writing, using mixed media conversations like chat histories, Facebook post comments, and even podcast commentary to swiftly move the story forward.

What is best about this book is that any woman, even if she is super successful or not, faces these issues. Writing about these characters and their issues makes the story realistic and interesting.

A thought-provoking book that, after reading, will leave you with more questions about a woman’s plight. Best enjoyed if you go in blind and if trigger warnings do not affect you.

Can’t wait to read it? Buy your copy of One of the Good Guys using the link below.