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Sunset City    by Melissa Ginsburg order for
Sunset City
by Melissa Ginsburg
Order:  USA  Can
Ecco, 2016 (2016)
Hardcover, CD, e-Book
* *   Reviewed by Bob Walch

You'll venture through the underbelly of Houston, Texas, in this novel that features damaged souls and friendship gone awry. Charlotte and Danielle were fast and firm friends until Danielle's drug addiction landed her in jail for four years. Now that she's free again Danielle and Charlotte can rekindle their relationship but there's not much time to do so before the recovering addict is found dead in her apartment.

Determined to discover what was behind her friend's brutal death, Charlotte does some digging into Danielle's past. This takes her into a world of strippers and pornographers, which Charlotte doesn't really fathom. In fact, she's not even sure if Charlotte was a hapless victim or a master manipulator, but once she embarks on this quest she doesn't intend to stop until all her questions are answered.

This debut has more than its share of sex and drugs but what would one expect to find given the scenario Ginsburg sets up here? But nestled within this short novel is a fascinating story about friends and explaining why people make some very bad choices. To use the author's words, 'I wanted to depict two women who care deeply about each other and don't really know how to live. Close friendships are so complicated, especially as they transition from childhood to adulthood. So many friendships don't survive that transition.'

Not your run of the mill crime novel or thriller, Sunset City is a gritty read but certainly one you won't soon forget. In the course of just 188 pages, Melissa Ginsburg takes her audience on a roller coaster of emotion from humor to deep sadness, and along the way she illustrates the fact that being human and loving has many nuances.

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