Member Reviews

This was such a thought provoking read, with the main premise taking on the huge and daunting subject of violence towards women by men which is always in huge debate at any given time (man or bear?). There were a lot of twists in this book and I enjoyed the multiple pov’s.

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An interesting take on an age old story, creating a plot that seems familiar but goes off in unexpected directions.

The characters are interesting and there's some intriguing psychological layers here when exploring their actions and motivation. Shades of grey so to speak.

I liked that it was unpredictable yet also familiar. Overall a good read.

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I struggled initially to get into the story while it was being told from Cole's point of view. I guessed from the title he was meant to be the "good guy" and while on the surface he seemed like it, there was just something about him that had me unsettled.

Then the author throws a huge twist at us, first with Cole's wife Mel's retelling of their relationship (which massively differs from how Cole remembers things), followed by Lenny B and her part in things.

It was by no means an easy story to read, but it really nailed the relevance of the themes it covered, including women's safety and how they are portrayed in society and the media.

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This book is a true contender for those interested in reading feminist literature which focuses on the complex relationship between genders and particularly how men treat/think about women.

Told from multiple POVs, we open the story with Cole Simmons, one of our "good guys". Following his failed marriage of seven years to Mel, Cole is shattered, unable to establish how things have become so terrible that he and his wife have become estranged, and defeated, Cole moves out of the family home in London to the countryside for a fresh start. There Cole meets Lenora, an indie artist, and they become fast friends. When two young activists go missing in the area whilst doing a charity walk to raise awareness of violence against women, Cole and Lenora find themselves at the centre of a police investigation. Suddenly, it seems there is more to the story than meets the eye...

After a slow start, trying to get my head in the right frame of mind, I found the first half particularly gripping. From Cole's perspective, there are so many aspects to his psyche where he justifies behaviour/actions which would make the hairs on your back stand on end and is a real eye-opener. You want to sympathise with his circumstances; he comes across a victim to his ill-treatment after all the genuine care and concern he has for Mel but there is a darker undertone. It almost felt the more we delved into his mind and the further into the book we got, the deeper the feeling of dread and it was a definite moment where you felt we were going to reach a crescendo.

And the crescendo came in the form of Mel's side of the story. Incredibly relatable and for many readers, I can imagine they will feel as if they're looking in the mirror, even if it is with a single aspect. The development/he said-she said aspect was very well written and was fast paced, I believe Mel's relationship with Cole is told from individual moments that happen in each year of the relationship, and it truly is a jaw-dropping realisation when it dawns on you just how messed up things really are.

Feminist literature is my go-to. The blurb is usually enough to rope me in, and this was the case with One Of The Good Guys. I laud the premise of the book and exploring the mind of a man who genuinely believes he is prioritising women's wellbeing with each thought/act and how this can be brought out in a thriller/mystery setting. Sadly for me, there was too much going on, the second half in particular, threw me off. I understand and appreciate the author's reasoning for taking the story in the direction it went but I didn't enjoy it unfortunately. I would highly recommend the audiobook as the latter third of the book is littered heavily with social media/podcast/news broadcasts of the case and the different narrators made that part enjoyable, which would not come across in a print version.

I know this one will sit like marmite with readers and regardless of my thoughts on the ending, I was still eager to know what happened throughout so if you are similarly curious, this is definitely one for you. Please do check trigger warnings before reading this as there are many sensitive topics discussed in great detail.

Thank you to Netgalley and Pan Macmillan for an advanced copy of the book in exchange for an honest unedited review!

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One of the Good Guys tells the story of Cole who has recently split up with his wife, Mel, following failed IVF treatment and decides to leave London and have a complete change of scenery. He moves to an isolated cottage on a remote stretch of coast in the south of England and takes up a job as a wildlife ranger. He meets Lennie, who lives in an old coastguard cottage nearby, and is also a newbie to the area, and the two quickly get close and start a relationship.

When two 23-year-old women, Molly and Phoebe, go missing close by while on a sponsored walk for a domestic abuse charity, suspicion falls on both Cole and Lennie, who end up becoming entangled in the investigation. It turns out that neither of them are what they seem and are both hiding secrets. It’s all very intriguing!

The book is written in three parts and we move from Cole’s viewpoint to his ex Mel’s account of what happened in the past, with some narrative from Lennie, then the final section is a mix of emails, social media posts, podcasts, news reports and articles, as we learn exactly what has happened over the course of the novel. It all makes for a fascinating, if disturbing, read!

This intriguing book was very cleverly plotted – I thought I’d worked out how the story was going to play out but was shocked to discover that I’d got it totally wrong and there were lots of twists and unexpected developments. It’s really relevant to today’s attitudes and society and very eye opening and quite chilling! It made me feel angry about what women have to face and the nasty, aggressive and degrading comments that are made on social media about them.

Overall, this was a thought-provoking feminist thriller that makes for uncomfortable reading for all! Right from the start, the book was an unsettling read and several red flags were waving as I took in the creepy and disturbing comments that were made by some of the main characters, one of whom especially had an over-inflated opinion of themselves. None of them were particularly likeable.

I’ve read two of the author’s books now and really enjoyed them so must put her other books on my wanted list!

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Gripped from a few chapters in..

... I didn't immediately like this book... I thought it was due to the way the male character was written. I'm SO pleased I re-opened it on a long flight, because once I got a little further in I realised it wasn't the way it was written, it was the character that I distinctly disliked. I should have got that from the title... I always think anyone self proclaiming to be 'one of the good guys' usually isn't.

This was an absolute page turner once I got passed my initial wariness... read in one sitting on a flight and one I need some friend to read so i can discuss.

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One of the Good Guys was such an interesting and gripping read. It starts with Cole who is one of the good guys, he likes to talk about what a good person he is and how hard it is that his marriage is on the rocks. It always feels a little uncomfortable though because we only really get his perspective of himself. Then he meets local artist Lennie and we see him develop a bond with her and how that plays out. Alongside this two young women are walking along the coast to protest about violence against women and one night they go missing. We also meet Cole's estranged wife and hear her story. It's a novel about toxic masculinity and it's such a good thriller whilst also being eye-opening to the type of men who are so sure of who they are and are often so blind (perhaps wilfully so) as to how the women in their lives are being made to feel when with him. I highly recommend this one!

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A fast paced, twist filled psychological thriller. Non compromising narrative, an unreliable narrator in Cole and the story weaved its way to a satisfying and thought provoking denouement. Thanks to netgalley and the publisher turn the arc.

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𝐼𝑓 𝑚𝑜𝑠𝑡 𝑚𝑒𝑛 𝑐𝑙𝑎𝑖𝑚 𝑡𝑜 𝑏𝑒 𝑔𝑜𝑜𝑑, 𝑤ℎ𝑦 𝑎𝑟𝑒 𝑚𝑜𝑠𝑡 𝑤𝑜𝑚𝑒𝑛 𝑠𝑡𝑖𝑙𝑙 𝑎𝑓𝑟𝑎𝑖𝑑 𝑡𝑜 𝑤𝑎𝑙𝑘 ℎ𝑜𝑚𝑒 𝑎𝑙𝑜𝑛𝑒 𝑎𝑡 𝑛𝑖𝑔ℎ𝑡?

This is a drop everything, cancel your plans and get stuck in book. Hall has really played with my emotions with this book. I’ve been on a rollercoaster of sadness, anger, frustration and disgust. Hall has taken a very current and relevant aspect of life and created a real gem.

One of The Good Guys is well plotted and perfectly paced. Hall writes beautifully and it is impossible not to become caught up in what is taking place on the pages. Initially, I felt sorry for Cole, then it was if my chair had been completely pulled out from under me and I was full of rage.

I was hooked on this book very quickly. I couldn’t put it down which led to me devouring this book in just one sitting. I couldn’t stop thinking about this book long after reading.

Everything about this book has been fantastic. This is unique and unlike anything I’ve read previously. Hall perfectly explores the imbalance of power between genders. I found this perfect for current times with individuals such as Andrew Tate in the media promoting misogynist views and stories in the media of violence against women.

An aspect that I really loved was the exploration of women standing up for themselves. Initially I questioned what links certain parts of the plot had, but Hall weaves them together perfectly and leaves you speechless.

There is nothing negative which can be said about this book. It’s one that every female should read! Hall has created a powerful, emotive and completely brilliant book. I’d even go as far as saying that this is one of the best books I have read.

This book is a must for the TBR. Publishing 4th Jan 2024.

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I can’t believe it took me so long to read this book! It was such a good read and so different…..centred around Cole who moves following his split….loved it!

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This is a thought provoking and very relevant book,

As I’m always telling my son, doing a bad thing doesn’t make you a bad person and nobody is all bad or all good-this book explores these ideas with flawed characters really well.

None are perfect so as an onlooker you can think objectively which makes it quite a unique read as I didn’t feel invested in any character but in a good way!

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Clever clever clever. This book has characters that make you love and hate them. Which brings out which emotion is for you to find out! The story will have you thinking for a long while. It challenges our perceptions and made me realise that not everything is as clear cut as it may seem. Strong 5:5

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Cole is the perfect husband, so when his wife leaves him, he’s beside himself. He accepts a job on the coast and begins to settle into his new life when he meets Lennie, who was made the same move for similar reasons. As their relationship progresses, two women go missing while raising awareness for gendered violence, right by where Cole and Lennie live putting them at the heart of the police investigation.

I thought the start of the book was really strong especially with Cole’s chapters, they were excellently done. At first, you get the sense that he is a good guy but then the more you learn about him, the more that feeling of unease and something isn’t quite right begins to settle in until you’re confronted with the reality. I feel like there are so many Cole’s in life, where you will know a man that is like him.

I feel from when Mel’s chapters were introduced with the short timeframes (which I think should have been longer to give more of a sense of what was going on as because they were so short, I felt like they didn’t make as much of an impact on me), it started to grow weaker for me. I didn’t particularly like or dislike any of the characters but I was interested in how the book was going to come together.

I absolutely love mixed media but I wasn’t the biggest fan of how it was introduced and I often questioned why each piece of media wasn’t separated from the previous part as sometimes it made it confusing and hard to follow what was going on. I feel like this could just have been a formatting issue with the ARC but I feel like it minimised the impact the mixed media aspects were supposed to bring to the book and the incredibly important topic it covers, which is what drew me to the book in the first place as it needs to be spoken about more in literature.

I do think it's a very strong and impactful story that people should definitely read, but I feel like some aspects of the book let it down as I can see what the book was trying to do, but I wasn't always the biggest fan of how it was executed. I think at the end, there was a bit of a rush to wrap everything up. I think it would have worked better to have some more time to digest everything that had happened.

⚠️ CWs: derogatory language, infertility, medical content and trauma, stalking, cursing, alcohol use, animal cruelty/death, child abuse, sexual violence, sexual assault, rape, blood, gore, misogyny, domestic abuse, murder, victim blaming, coercive control and controlling behaviour, paedophilia, miscarriages, vomiting; mentions sexual harassment, harassment, murder-suicide, drug use, police brutality, fatphobia, fire, abortion, indecent exposure ⚠️

Thank you NetGalley and MacMillan for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

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So different to what I was expecting and really had me on the edge of my seat with no idea what to expect! Such an interesting idea and I cannot wait to read other reviews to see how it landed, especially the twist.

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I've been a fan of Araminta Hall since her first book was published in 2011 but this book showcases her talent at a high level. Not only is this book fantastically conceived, plotted and executed, it is highly memorable and important read.

The book is told in three parts, the first narrated by the eponymous good guy Cole Connelly who cares about women, he shows his emotions, he cooks, he cleans and he wants to be the main carer for any child that he may have.. He spends his time explaining why he views the world the way he does, along with his concerns about his wife Mel.

The second part of the book is first narrated by Mel, and then, Lennie B, an artist living in a remote cottage on the South Coast. It is at this point that the tale turns much darker and all the characters are shaded in, like real-people, neither all good, nor all bad. This is not a novel populated by pantomime characters, be prepared to have the narrative challenged,

In the final part, the disappearance of two young women who were walking the coastline to raise awareness of male violence against women is played out in the media, both traditional and social, with a perfect eye by way of conspiracy theories and comments that are the background to every story about male violence.

The outcome is unexpected but most cleverly done with no let up in the challenges from the author to the world.

A great read, that had me compulsively reading in a way I haven't for quite some time.

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A creepy and frightening story about the men who get away with violence against women, and how society lets them. I can’t say too much for spoiling it. Suffice it to say, there’s an underlying uneasiness right from page 1 that doesn’t go away. In fact it’s worse after you’ve turned the last page. Patriarchy allows the killing of women. We will never be safe.

(Review copy from NetGalley)

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I devoured this book in one sitting. The suspense was relentless, and the twists were mind-blowing, read a few from the author and never fails to amaze me!!!

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AMAZING. For anyone that has ever dated (or known) a Very Bad Man. This is such an easy five stars for me, the feminist fiction we need, about those subtle (not so) nice guys.

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This was so interesting! Even after finishing it, I'm not entirely sure what I think. I'd love to discuss it with friends and I'll definitely ve thinking about it for a long time to come.

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If someone seems too good to be true... Araminta Hall is on fine, furious form in this evisceration of gendered violence

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