There is something to be said about an unlikable narrator. If you ask me, some of the best suspense novels are led by women whose color palate is morally gray. Who is Maud Dixon? main gal, Florence Darrow, has (perhaps) a touch of attachment disorder; remorse isn’t a feeling she’s well acquainted with; stalking’s an activity she takes up as a hobby… You get the gist. There’s something unstable here. Although Florida-native Florence feels like a fish out of water in the NYC publishing industry where her dreams of becoming a writer are going nowhere, and her assistant editor job pays less than her mom’s server salary. And so, her peculiar behavior could be chalked up to a severe case of the newbie jitters and discontent. I won’t spoil anything here, and don’t be surprised when you root for her.
Who, you ask, is Maud Dixon? Well, wouldn’t you (and the rest of the world, including Florence) like to know. However, Maud Dixon, perhaps the most famous novelist to emerge in recent years, is staunchly protective of her privacy and pseudonym. Until Maud needs an assistant to help with research for her next book. It seems like kismet when the newly fired Florence (all that stalking caught up with her) lands the job. Florence might have signed a nondisclosure agreement, meaning she can never reveal Maud’s identity and that she worked for the famous author. But Florence is thinking bigger than a mere reference. Much bigger.
The plotting is clever, the writing artful. There’s not a sentence out of place. Masterfully, Alexandra Andrews creates a sense of foreboding that will leave you clinging to the edge of your seat, wondering when the metaphorical bomb will explode and who will be caught in the blast. And just when you think you know how the chips will fall, this novel will make you guess again.
A truly stellar novel and a riveting debut.
Book: Who Is Maud Dixon
Published: Tinder Press
Publication Date: March 2nd, 2021