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Center of Gravity Paperback – July 14, 2015
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'There’s plenty of chills in this thriller about twisted family secrets that will keep pulses pounding.” (Parkersburg News & Sentinel)
'This incredibly fast-paced tale is difficult to put down, mostly because the reader gets invested in the characters and won't want to stop until it all plays out.' -4 1/2 star review (RT Book Reviews)
'Readers will find this tale of domestic suspense deeply compelling as a once-happy family unit disintegrates and a woman summons her heretofore hidden strength. Told from multiple perspectives, McNeill’s gripping tale explores family, trust, and how lives are rebuilt.' (Booklist)
“This powerful debut by a former television anchor is a suspenseful and haunting tale of a marriage spiraling wildly out of control. The story line is particularly unsettling as it mirrors the headlines found in newspapers and court cases everywhere. This title will resonate with readers of contemporary women’s fiction and fans of Gina Holmes.” -starred review (Library Journal)
About the Author
Laura McNeil is a writer, web geek, travel enthusiast, and coffee drinker. In her former life, she was a television news anchor for CBS News affiliates in New York and Alabama. Laura holds a master’s degree in journalism from The Ohio State University and is completing a graduate program in interactive technology at the University of Alabama. When she’s not writing and doing homework, she enjoys running, yoga, and spending time at the beach. She lives in Mobile, AL with her family.
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Top Customer Reviews
This one was a little more difficult to read on a personal level. While my ex-husband never went to the extremes that Mitchell did, he did spend the last month before he left me for the woman with whom he was having an affair, telling people lies about me...convincing them I was a horrible person. That way they would feel he was justified in leaving me.
So it was hard to experience these same betrayals as I turned the pages. Will people finally realize they are being manipulated? Guess you'll have to pick up the book and discover for yourself!
First off, I did not expect much from this book. Sure it has a 4 star average rating, but it was an impulse buy for 2.99$ for my kindle, and that means there must be something wrong with it right? WRONG. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It had everything I wanted from it, likable characters, characters that you would drive over with a truck given the chance, and a good story with a fast pace. But before I get into that lets talk about the book itself.
The book and the writing:
"Center of Gravity" is told from the perspectives of 5 characters. I'm not really sure who was supposed to be the main character in this story but my gut goes with either Ava (the mother) or Jack (a boy of 8). Both of these characters have the most chapters devoted to their point of view. The others, meaning: Mitchell (the husband), Graham (the Harley driving attorney) and Lucy (awesome child psychologist), take care of the remaining chapters. I'm usually not a fan of books that have too many points of view but I have to hand it to Laura McNeill for pulling it off without making me groan after reading any one characters name at the top of a page.
Although the book was on the somewhat shorter side, each of the characters had their own voice and way of thought. McNeill did a great job working with descriptions and emotions to make each character a little unique in their story telling. The story itself was fast paces without a boring moment because it just reads very quickly. The chapters aren't too long and they all weave together so you don't loose focus of what's happening to other characters.
I'm not sure how much to give away or how to review books in general, but I'm going to warn that there are SPOILERS ahead, so like I said, be warned.
The story starts off with Jack, a third grader fantasizing of being a superhero,daredevil to be specific, which gets him into a situation that lands him in a hospital with a minor injury. School employees call his mother and explain the situation to her. Ava rushes to the hospital with baby Sam in arms and conveniently steps on the foot of none other than Graham, but shhhh we don't know that yet. Through these events it is established that Ava's motherly instincts run deep and that she cares deeply for her children. After the three return home we meet Mitchell. (Remember when I said this book has characters that you'd love to run over in a truck? Well that's Mr. I drive a Range Rover over here). At first Mitchell doesn't seem like such a horrible guy, he's tall and handsome, with a deep voice and a great job. Total package right? But ohhh nooo, you read the description and you, the reader, know better. Turns out his great job is not so great, as he frequently receives phone calls that send him rushing off in his Range Rover. As the story continues we arrive at an evening of chaos, Mitchell and Ava fight, voices are raised and suitcases are packed. Range Rover doors are slammed and chaos ensues. Man, this is just going to be a book about a divorce isn't it? NO! That's where you're wrong. When I mean chaos ensues, I don't mean literal chaos. No. What ensues is more like a deliberate plot that will make your blood boil in moments of 'I can't believe he did that!'. I flew through the last pages of the book because the climax was just so damn good. It didn't hold a lot of suspense but rather the kind of thrill that makes your heart beat just a little bit harder with adrenaline even though you probably haven't moved in an hour because this story just flows so damn smoothly.
(You know what, I was going to give this book 4 stars but by writing that I just convinced myself to give it 5)
Little facts I'm happy about:
Ava and Graham do not get together. It seemed to me that McNeill was flirting with the idea, but I'm very happy she decided against it. This way, the book doesn't have a cheap ending, by putting Ava with another man so soon after Mitchell's biggest argument was that she was supposedly cheating on him.
Alright, so I AM giving this book 5 stars but I did have one issue with it. This being the fact that the character Jack is supposed to be around 8 years old and in second or third grade, and yet he already speaks and thinks almost like an adult. I see how this helped the plot and how he would not have been as effective of a perspective if he had thought more like a child. But because I am not someone that really knows how children speak or think, or how such a thing as a divorce would affect a child's maturity, it doesn't bother me that much. It just seemed a little off is all
Over all, this is a great book that I would recommend to anyone. To be completely honest too, my main thought while reading this was 'wow I really wish they would make this into a movie!' because that is how I pictured it. Shot with the camera angles and lighting of a movie. And I'm really glad I did.