Cover Image: One of Those Faces

One of Those Faces

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Member Reviews

One of those Faces is a very intriguing read. It engages, it thrills, it gets you thinking, and then, unfortunately  it fall flat. There are lots of players in this, lots of situations, and it gets quite confusing. The ending is also a difficult sell because there's no resolution to the majority of the issues that are brought out in the story, and it's just very underwhelming.

Not for me, sorry.

Star Rating: 2.5

Many thanks to the author, Thomas & Mercer, and Netgalley for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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Harper sees her face in other women and not just those she passes on the streets, but especially in two women recently murdered in the area. Her face, her exact image, almost her, but not. She knows he's back for her, that this killer is looking to kill her, and her sleep issues take her from scared to terrified to a paranoid space where fiction and reality blend.

Harper is the unlikeable, insomnia suffering lead in One of Those Faces. An artist at her core doing all she can to ignore the sleepless nights and popping pills to allow sleep to happen as needed. She lets no one too close, at least no one outside of her one friend and the boy who happens to be right where she is when she's feeling weak. What feels like the turn to something good, to something normal, is upended by the death of multiple women with similar looks and too many occurrences of strangers calling her by other names. We know she has a damaging, abusive childhood that haunts her, but her insomnia is just a piece of her, at least at first. Soon it is all consuming and we are taken on an obsessive, terrifying journey with an unreliable journey at our helm.

One of Those Faces reads incredibly similar to other works about women suffering from extreme insomnia and delusions. In fact, until about the 50% mark I was convinced I had read this book, or one exactly like it, before. While it didn't impact the overall storytelling, Grawl writes very well, it just wasn't exciting or new for me. I struggled to believe Harper could have coped as long as she had with no issues. In fact, it appeared as though her life was entirely together up until the events in the book, however we're expected to believe she'd dealt with sleep issues for much longer. How then, had she maintained friendships and work prior to now? Of course, there is the thriller edge and the twists presented, but I needed more believability with the sleep issues.
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From debut author Elle Grawl comes a psychological thriller about an insomniac artist who discovers a shocking truth about a recent spate of murders in her city: the victims all look just like her.

Years after escaping her abusive childhood, Harper Mallen has only ever known sleepless nights—or terrifying nightmares. She’s struggling to maintain an artist’s life in a hip Chicago neighborhood, getting by on freelance gigs at a local painting studio, when she suffers another terrible shock.

A young woman is killed outside Harper’s apartment—a woman who chillingly resembles her. As Harper searches for information about the victim, she discovers unsettling links to two other murders. And then there’s a third doppelganger, still alive. Harper’s life is not the only one hanging in the balance.

As her obsession and paranoia deepen, everyone is a suspect: the handsome stranger in the café, the owner of the painting studio, even the ghosts from her past. The closer she comes to unraveling the truth behind the murders, the more Harper realizes there is no one she can trust—not even herself.
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The concept for this book was incredible. I was very into this book the whole time, but the ending left a lot of things unanswered. This felt very fast paced and was interesting throughout the book. I read it so quickly because I wanted to know what was going on. Sadly there were things that were hinted at that didn't happen and also things that were still confusing to the reader at the end. I will definitely read from this author in the future!
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I was pulled in from the start, loved the writing and the twisty mystery but as the story went on I questioned the plausibility of what was going on. It had a strong start but was ultimately anticlimactic. Though I wished for more with the ending, I overall enjoyed the read.
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Insanely creepy tension filled and just adore the cover for this one. Thank you to Amazon pub for the ARC.
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Debut for author Elle Grawl and definitely kicked it off with a solid read. There was really good peaks and valleys in this book that kept me engaged.  I did this book as an audio and felt the narrator did a good job narrating this book. I felt the book was a tad long and there was a lot of characters that you had to keep track of but may have been easier if I was reading the book instead of listening. I couldn’t connect well with the main character Harper because she seemed to be unmotivated and not really wanting to better herself. As a reader, I fully understand the background Harper came from but she ran away for a reason and then never truly let go of the past. With all the twists, it wasn’t super predictable to know who was the villain in the story but I did guess correctly about 2/3 the way through.  Overall, this was a solid debut for this author, giving it three stars and will recommend to other thriller readers.
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A dark mystery - unforunately it just didn't work for me.

The MC was erratic. She could just be walking along talking to someone and suddenly fall asleep. It was hard to follow her equally chaotic life. There are quite a few people in her life and, as she slowly amasses them, one by one they are murdered. With each new death, I squinted my eyes and looked at alibis but I found so much of the story still confusing and lacking. We're giving such a chaotic mess because the MC is a mess but we're never fully given the tools to follow the story along.

When I got to the twist, I didn't feel like it was a surprise. But when I got the the final one, I felt let down. This one was just too much of a mess for me to enjoy.

A huge thank you to the author and publisher for providing an e-ARC via Netgalley. This does not affect my opinion regarding the book.
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The only thing that was a bigger mess than this main character was the plotting of this book. So many loose threads everywhere. The first half of the conclusion was far-fetched and the second half led to me shouting "duh!" at the main character. Some mysteries were never even definitively solved. Most of the characters were horrible and unsympathetic. 

This was a disaster and I'm sorry to say I really can't recommend it to anyone. 

Thank you to NetGalley and Thomas & Mercer for the opportunity to review this book ahead of publication. This does not affect my opinion regarding the book.
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The story started out kind of interesting (I guess), where the reader is kind of like a looky loo at a 15-car pile-up on the freeway.  The MC, Harper, lost her mother when she was a little kid and survived a car accident at 10 that killed her twin sister.  Her grieving father abused her and messed with her head until she ran away and ended up on the streets in Chicago and later a youth hostel.  Her BF/employer is a woman who is basically just a drinking buddy and drug resource.  Harper is a pill popping, struggling artist with insomnia that is triggered by her nightmares of her sister’s death.  All this in the first 25% of the story.  Suffice it to say that Harper is a bit of a train wreck and her life a 15-car pile-up on the freeway.

The book summary pretty much lays out the primary storyline: the recent murders of a few women, who just so happen, look very similar to Harper.  As if things aren’t odd enough already, Harper is often mistaken (by random people) for someone else.  Once she was even mistaken for one of the murdered women by the woman’s mother.  As if Harper’s life wasn’t messed up enough, there are also Harper’s nightmares of her sister’s death.  

The first half of the story is an introduction into the story’s characters as well as Harper’s struggles to maintain a grip on reality and a semblance of sanity, most likely attributed to her sleep deprivation and a diet of mostly drugs, alcohol and coffee.  Grawl exposes to the reader Harper’s nightmares as well as her lapses in time all of which lead her to make some really bad choices and decisions.

By the halfway point, Harper, as well as most of the rest of the characters, come off as a very unlikeable bunch and the story seems to be dragged all over the place and going nowhere.  It’s like some ridiculous scavenger hunt dragging the reader all over town collecting obscure clues that lead nowhere.  In those games, it isn’t until the very end that all the participants finally find out the meaning or purpose of all the random items they’ve collected.

Typically, it’s at this point that I would DNF a book that I’m just not enjoying.  However, because I received a free eARC from the publisher, I am committed to finishing the book and providing a complete and honest review.  Around the 60% point though, I actually closed the book and set it aside for a while and started reading another book because I was getting bored with Harper and her nonsense.  I needed something more interesting and exciting to read.  The final 10% was kind of a hot mess with a very unsatisfying ending.  Hence the 2star rating.

I want to thank NetGalley and Thomas & Mercer for sending me this eARC in exchange for my honest review.

@NetGalley @Thomas&Mercer @OneofThoseFaces
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Harlan is a freelance artist and the teacher at the booze and paint art center. Which is start noticing women who look exactly like her or dying it really freaks her out… Not that she doesn’t go around freaked out on a normal basis. This book was setting up to be a good one but the ending ruined it for me and that’s a shame because it had the right amount of creepy and although they had a few eye rolling incidents it was a book I couldn’t stop thinking about once I put it down but as I said the end ruined it for me.. if the author could re-write  it and re-release it it would be such a better book. I received it from NetGalley Ann Thomas and Mercer Books but I am leaving this review voluntarily please forgive any mistakes as I am blind and dictate my review.
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There were so many moving parts to this book that it  just never quite fit together. There was great potential but I just felt it fell short in so many ways. I think the author was trying to keep us guessing until the end but it just fell short,, however it left so many more questions unanswered. 
The characters were so hard to connect with that it left me questioning their actions and motives. In the end the book as a whole just kinda fell flat for me and that was the disappointment.
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This book should have been so much better than it ended up being! A super premise and a decent conclusion but the middle felt like the author didn't know what to do with the story. The result felt cluttered with no direction and impacted how I felt when some (only some) of the many many storylines were supposedly concluded. I am not sure if the author felt like the reader could follow along better than we were in reality or the point was to be vague to remain mysterious. While I like mysteries and don't need my storylines all tied up in pretty bows, I also like to finish a book and be able to have a solid conversation about what took place and how the story moved from point to point. I am not sure I could do that with this book.
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Started out the gate. Was excited to read. The synopsis had me going. For a while it was flowing, hitting all the right spots. Twisty and engaging.  Near the end, we hit the wall. What was I reading? What happened to the book I started with? End the end left me wondering huh? I'm not afraid of a book that push the edge and this book had so much potential.
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I spend a lot of time whining about predictability in thrillers, about how you know exactly when each turn or twist is going to be, and how I often guess who the murderer or criminal is very early on and usually right about it in the end. I often say I wish there were more surprises, more suspense… just a little more ambiguity here and there to shake the tree, if you will. 

But there is such a thing as too many twists, too many turns, too many suspects, and too many moving parts to the puzzle. You can, it seems, shake too many nuts down from the tree when you shake it. Thus is the case with “One of Those Faces”. This book is a classic case of “Too much going on”. 

Now, I rated this book 4 stars because I actually did greatly enjoy it to some extent, and I think that’s because I enjoy most books where the protagonist has issues with sleep and missing memories. Since I have issues with both those things myself, reading about it is a morbid curiosity of mine. I liked Harper’s personality: snappish, wounded, paranoid, traumatized, introverted, and often an utter cow. Yet she is beautiful and creates beautiful things. She’s a beautiful tragedy, walking around the frozen, windy streets of Chicago, with no idea of what to do with her life. 

But right there is where my singular joy of the book ends. All the male characters I could chuck in the lake. Erin, her supposed BFF? Chuck her in the lake. The cop investigating the murders central to the plot? Chuck him. You can chuck almost the whole murder “investigation” into the trash anyway, considering how inept it’s portrayed on the page. 

Yet, there it is, 4 stars on the page. This book is yet another instance where a book can be average in writing, and even downright annoying at times, but there’s just something singular about it that saves it from mediocrity. 

Thanks to NetGalley and Thomas & Mercer for granting me access to this title. 

File Under: Amateur Sleuth/Crime Thriller/Psychological Thriller/Suspense Thriller
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Thanks to NetGalley and Thomas & Mercer for the advanced reader copy.

This week’s headline? Doppelgängland 
Why this book? Synopsis sounded interesting

Which book format? ARC  

Primary reading environment? Train

Any preconceived notions? I’ll prob like this 
Identify most with? As much as it pains me, Harper

Three little words? “knot of dread” 

Goes well with? Wine and painting, rabbit’s foot, Brigid’s cross 

Recommend this to? People who like open-ended questions

Other cultural accompaniments: 

Grade: 2.5/5

I leave you with this: “We were made from the same ingredients—same hair color, eyes, nose, lips—but she was brighter and better somehow.”


Well, this turned out to be… something. I went into this thinking I’ll at least like it, but hoped to love it. What ended up happening is indescribable. This book is a mess. Just like Harper. It started out somewhat strong and I was hooked but then the last third of the book veered into uncharted territory. This may be spoilery, but there is no real resolution to the story. I’m left feeling cheated, honestly. 

One of Those Faces is available today. 

tw: family abuse, murder
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Her debut novel, One of Those Faces by Elle Grawl is a standalone psychological thriller. When a woman is murdered outside her apartment, Harper Mallen is struck by how similar the victim’s appearance is to her. A struggling artist in Chicago, Harper investigates and finds two other similar victims and another doppelganger.  Increasingly suspicious to the point of paranoia regarding most people, Harper even fails to trust herself. A popular noir this flawed, vulnerable protagonist premise is overrepresented in psychological suspense thrillers lately. In this case, the characters failed to inspire and the tension was somewhat tepid, making this a passable two and a half star read rating. With thanks to Thomas & Mercer and the author, for an uncorrected advanced review copy for review purposes. As always, the opinions herein are totally my own and freely given.
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I’ve occasionally gotten oh you look like so & so, but no more than a few times – in my entire life! I think I struggled with trying to fathom this because it’s not something I see as plausible.

Harper has only known sleepless nights – or those filled with nightmares. She’s struggling to survive as an artist in Chicago. One night a woman is murdered right outside her apartment – and the woman looks just like her. Then Harper realizes a woman was murdered a little while back that also looked just like her. Is someone targeting her? Why? Harper fears her past is coming back to haunt her, and she isn’t sure she’s going to survive.

I wanted to like this one, but come on, how can one woman be mistaken for 4 other people? I can’t fathom anyone having a face that like that many other people within the same city, nonetheless. Also, why was she targeted actually? Sure, we found out who was targeting her, but the whole reason as to why they picked her was elusive. And what the heck was that ending? It didn’t even make sense to me. This book just didn’t work for me. It wasn’t great but it left me all frustrated which I do not enjoy feeling that way. I will read additional books from this author, as this is her debut novel, and I see a lot of potential.

Thank you to @netgalley and the publisher Thomas & Mercer for gifting me this advanced e-arc in exchange for this honest review. I am always so grateful for all the books I am gifted. This one is out soon – December 1st, which is like, days away!
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Thank you to the author, Thomas & Mercer and NetGalley, for an ARC in exchange for an honest review. 

This was a huge hot mess, and my feelings upon finishing it can be described as a combination of confusion, relief that it was over and disappointment. Yes, the premise is interesting, but the plot is murky and full of gaping holes, the book is badly written, the characters are all self-absorbed with a large helping of self-destructive behavior and stupid choices, awful ending with zero resolution... I could go on, but I think you get the idea.
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The description of this book got me intrigued in seconds and I was looking forward to reading it and find out why that hook is so powerful. 
It’s an interesting story overall, one with a great start that builds up a lot of tension and suspenseful moments. Some twists are very unpredictable and some moments felt just too flat for me. 
What I really liked to know was who was the actual killer? Because I feel like we haven’t really found out in the end. 
Yes, I have my theories and I’m thinking that I might know exactly who that one is, but I also need it confirmed because there are way too many unanswered questions in here. 
Many will enjoy it as well as many others will just feel like me , that it’s an interesting story but it’s missing something for me to love it. 

📖Very grateful to the publisher for my review copy through NetGalley
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