Cover Image: One of Those Faces

One of Those Faces

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One of Those Faces by Elle Grawl is about a woman named Harper who is finding out women are being murdered who look exactly like her and she's wondering if it's supposed to be her or if she's next.
The book captured my attention - I needed to see how it ended. Only the ending left me very confused. Maybe it was supposed to. Maybe they'll be a part 2? Too many things seemed to be left without closure. Overall it was an easy read and I looked forward to seeing what happened next. I just kept waiting for some of the things to make sense. Or my questions to be answered. It seemed weird that so many people looked "exactly" like her. The only person I've ever met that looked like me is my daughter. I kept waiting for an explanation of why that was, or how that happened.
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Thank you to Thomas & Mercer and NetGalley for this ARC in exchange for an honest review!

One of Those Faces by Elle Grawl is a gripping thriller that you won't be able to put down! The story revolves around Harper, an artist who has discovered that someone is killing women that look exactly like her. Why is someone killing her doppelgängers? Are they after her or someone else? It's up to Harper to investigate and figure out who the serial killer could be. Is it a stranger or someone she knows? Will she be the next victim?

Here is a chilling excerpt from Chapter 1:

"Her face is just like mine. But cold and gray. Unmoving.
I remember holding myself back from reaching in and shaking her. As if she would wake up. But she wasn’t asleep. She didn’t look real, her skin like polished alabaster.
Now, I see a twenty-five-year-old version of myself lying in that coffin, and I stare down into the gray, bloated face that mirrors my own."

Overall, One of Those Faces is a gripping thriller that will appeal to fans of serial killer thrillers. One highlight of this book was the intriguing premise. Who wouldn't be freaked out if they found out someone was killing people who looked exactly like them? I did take off 1 star, because I felt that there were too many characters with generic names, and I had difficulty remembering who was who. I took off another star because of the unfinished feeling of the ending. I had unanswered questions. If you're intrigued by the excerpt above, or if you're a fan of thrillers in general, you can check out this book when it comes out in December!
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An interesting premise (really reminded me of Orphan Black, one of my favourite TV series), but unfortunately fell very flat for me. There were gaping plot holes, and very hard to believe scenarios. 
I understand that the MC's past trauma was fed to us piece by piece to keep the tension and mystery up, but I felt that this seriously affected my compassion for her. All the things happened to her but I didn't really care very much as I didn't feel as if I really knew her at all.
The quasi love "square" was quite bizarre as well - towards the 75% mark I found myself struggling to keep up with who she was on the phone with, who she was hooking up with, whose apartment she was at! It was all a bit bizarre.
I feel like the ending was quite rushed, too, and actually left me with more questions than answers.
All in all, an interesting premise, but didn't quite hit the mark for me.
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Imagine seeing murder victims with your face…intrigue and mystery…murder and mayhem…this is a talented author at writing a cannot put down novel…likable characters…surprises…red herrings…secrets…friends…this book was sent to me by Netgalley for review…thanks to the publisher for the electronic copy…
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Okay it's official: I'm done with books about millennials. I find so many of their exaggerated characteristics irritating in real life, that I don't know why I would continue thinking that I could read them in fiction and find them any more palatable.. Yet I keep being drawn in by descriptions and blurbs that suggest a depth and breadth that is never present.

[Incidentally, helpful hint to marketers: don't oversell your book or adjust the blurb to target the broadest possible audience. The blurb should reflect the book. If it doesn't, you are doing not only a disservice to readers but to your author because they are going to get harsh reviews that they don't deserve because readers go in expecting one thing when they are in fact being delivered another. It is not the authors hiding the eight ball here but the marketers - and that is a foolish choice that I don't understand but seem to keep encountering..]

I am off course exaggerating wholeheartedly with those opening statements and overly broad  generalizations (and hope you do too) - but that is what these books all seem to do, so I am doing it deliberately. I am tired of flat-affect, self-absorbed, drink- and drug- (and youth- and beauty-) obsessed characters who haplessly meander their way through life and then are surprised when crazy things happen and nothing goes their way.. That is what I found again in this book. I was expecting an Orphan Black Vibe - something interesting and unusual lurking behind  the remarkable similarity between the protagonist and the murder victims - but instead what I found was yet another self-absorbed young woman falling into a plot, who has no direction and stumbles her way through a novel.. 

I was a DNF on this one startlingly early. I am simply not this demographic..
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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. Upon discovering another doppelgänger, Harper realizes her life is not the only one hanging in the balance.”
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Jeez, Louise........

One of Those Faces sets the stage in the first few chapters as a banger of a read. We don't know much about the protangonist, Harper Mallen, but she's suffering from some horrendously graphic nightmares. These god-awful nightmares must reflect her current life or has something to do with a deeply hidden past.

Harper is a twenty-five year old freelance artist in Chicago's Wicker Park who has been absolutely circling the drain. She's barely holding on as her legs are dangling in the pipes. She doesn't have a hint of a grip on things......not her listless career or her random relationships.

Harper also has a job at Tipsy Paintbrush where individuals imbibe and dip brushes into paint jars to create a uniform picture. It's run by her sometimes friend, Erica. Erica has had a drinking/drug problem in the past and her father set her up in business to set her straight. Neither seems to be working out too well.

Enter Iann who took one of the classes and has now fallen hard for Harper. And then there's Danny, her childhood friend, who happens to show up. He's a reporter for the Tribune. Bug, her landlord, waits in the doorway each evening for the current month's rent. Our gal doesn't cash out for rent, but she has gobs of money for lattes and train tickets and drinks at high-end bars.

Heads-up: A body of a young woman is found just across the street from Harper's apartment in the wee hours of the morning. Said woman's picture appears on the news and she's the spitting image of Harper. And then more bodies turn up, and you guessed it, resembling Harper.

I think that the character of Harper Mallen is the most toxic individual I've come across in a long time. Everything and everybody she touches turns to crap. We only get snippets of her early beginnings when she ran away from a dysfunctional home at sixteen. And every decision that she does make is hepped up on alcohol/drugs. She's a talented artist, and because of her self-destructive nature, she trashes every opportunity.

One of Those Faces is an exhausting read. The adrenaline is pumping from the first pages. I was hooked. But then, it ran in circles as Harper bar hopped and pill-popped into oblivion. There were enormous gaps in the storyline and long conversations that just revved up the same topics with no adequate conclusion. And the ending was like a reckless CTA bus hitting ice patches. We never got to the "why" of Harper and the murders. And isn't that what we signed up for?

I received a copy of this book through NetGalley for an honest review. My thanks to Thomas & Mercer and to Elle Grawl for the opportunity.
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One of those Faces by Elle Grawl is a fast-paced, incredibly intriguing psychological thriller I couldn't put down. I was definitely left with some questions at the end of the book, which led to a sleepless night-fitting given the plot of the book.
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Harper Mallen is an artist, an insomniac, a surviving twin after losing her twin sister in childhood. A murder takes place outside her apartment, and the victim looks a lot like Harper.

Harper is drawn to investigate feeding into her own obsessions, paranoia and need to survive.

This book has a fantastically bleak, anxious and paranoid atmosphere as Harper struggles to hold it all together.

Not the fastest book, and not always the most coherent plot, but I was fully absorbed and happily read it cover to cover.

For me it excels on Harper's character and the atmosphere and I look forward to reading more from Elle Grawl.

Thanks to Netgalley and Thomas & Mercer
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Another one of those thrillers. About a girl with one of those faces. The young Ms. Mallen is twenty five and a text book definition of a hot mess, though apparently the focus here is on hot because the men in her life find her irresistible. Can’t get enough. Go crazy for her. About her. On her. Etc.
And she juggles them as expertly as a sleep-deprived, overcaffeinated, unreliable narrator can.
Someone is killing young women in her Chicago neighborhood, young women who look uncannily like her. Very triggering, especially for someone with such a difficult past.
What’s a girl to do? Well, try to get to the bottom of it way juggling all that male interest, of course.
What’s the attraction, one might ask? Well, presumably she’s a classic damsel-in-distress, perpetual distress, mind you.
Millennial through and through from her iffy career as a kinda sorta artist to her flat out disturbing living situation to her junkie tendencies and her prime network sitcom worthy relationships and friendships, this protagonist much like her story are very hip, very trendy, very much what’s IN now. None of which necessarily makes it good. 
Perfectly readable, sure. Original and distinguishable from a million similar other books floating out there – not so much. Reads quickly enough, but nothing special, really. Thanks Netgalley.
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Thank you to Netgalley and Elle Grawl for the opportunity to read and review this book. 

I liked this book. I gave it 3 stars because there was a lot going on and it left me somewhat confused. I definitely enjoyed it and it kept me riveted wanting to know what the heck was going on. Overall, it was enjoyable. The ending still left me a bit confused, but that tends to happen to me if I dont have things clearly spelled out for me, which in this case I didn't.
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A gripping suspense thriller with a rather “Shakespearean” ending.

It has been quite some time when a book has compelled me to finish it, to the exclusion of anything else in my life. Grawl spun such a tale with “One of Those Faces”. From the very beginning, I was catapulted into the action and the twists and turns of this well-crafted novel. This menagerie of broken characters captivates and drives you  to figure out the truth inside this novel. 

If I had any criticism, it was the rather Shakespearean conclusion this story comes to (no spoilers, I promise) which prevents the satisfying sense of closure that I so greatly craved. But this masterful first novel by Grawl definitely deserves a read and a big thumbs up.
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Thank you Netgalley and Thomas & Mercer for the copy of One Of Those Faces. There’s a lot to love about this debut novel - Harper’s doppelgängers are being killed and the murderer could be many people in Harper’s life! I also liked the author’s note about how often she is mistaken for someone else, so we know doppelgängers do exist. The writing was addictive at times, then kind of flat.
I didn’t like how Harper relied on booze and drugs. I didn’t understand how she made a living with how little she worked. I really didn’t understand the ending or what the deal was with Issie and Harper’s dreams. 
This was an inventive read and I liked it enough that I will be looking for the next book by Elle Grawl. 3.5 stars rounded up to 4.
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The premise has promise, was expecting maybe a Orphan Black type vibe of seeing someone who looks just like you dying.  But the story was pretty unrealistic in places, and worse, huge plot holes and unresolved issues.
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This book wasn’t very memorable. There was a lot of questions unanswered and a lot of lose ends that didn’t tie up at the end. The characters were all pretty flat and I couldn’t really connect or care for what happened to Harper our main character. The ending literally made no sense and wasn’t a big shocker. I’m sad to say I just really didn’t like or enjoy this book at all. Hopefully the author can get better with more experience. All thoughts and opinions stated in this review are solely my own. Thanks to Netgalley and the Publisher for a copy of the arc in return for an honest review.
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This was a case of "loved the journey".  The destination when I got there...not so much!!  I still have no idea what I read or what I was really supposed to take away from that ending, and I absolutely do not like that.  It makes me feel dumb.  That beings said, the execution  of this book was quite masterful.  I was creeped out, tense, unsettled and downright scared at times.  The things that this girl experienced would have had me rocking back and forth in a corner, but Harper didn't succumb to that.  Granted, she's a mess with a lot of issues.  She makes a lot of questionable choices and her "Woe is me. I'm so broken.  No one could/should love me" spiel is tiresome, repetitive and grating.  Every character surrounding her is suspect and seemingly shady.  There's a lot here amongst these pages.  A lot happens - probably too much - and a lot remains unexplained.  But boy howdy, was I a bundle of nerves getting to the ending.  That makes this a recommended read for me!
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Elle Grawl's debut novel is a quick read and will fit into the thriller/suspense genre (I would not catalog this as a physiological thriller) just fine. I did enjoy the ride Harper Mallen takes us with her on, but I was left with some questions at the end of the book. I suppose some of my questions were left unanswered and I'm not sure how to interpret the ending. I guess I was left wanting more, so perhaps Grawl accomplished her plan! 

I will say this is perhaps one of the more unique premises I've come across as of late. A death of a doppelganger. How wild!

Thank you to NetGalley for the ARC.
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This book was interesting in that there were several choices for the guilty person but I found I didn’t care about the heroine that much and the twist at the end did not impress me.  It dragged.
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2.5 Stars from me.
Harper is a struggling artist who ran away from her abusive father at the age of 16.
There are murders of young women that look almost exactly like Harper, and she fears for her own life.
She suspects the detective that she is helping, her own boyfriend, her childhood friend and her best friend's boyfriend.... but who is responsible for the killing?

To start off with, most of this book was totally unbelievable. A struggling artist who can barely scrape together her rent, who splashes out on coffee and alcohol?
I wasn't really mad on any of the characters, I felt they all lacked depth and personality.
It was a long read for me as I kept losing focus on the story, it just did not grab me.
As for the ending? I was left with more questions than answers, it was frustrating.

To be honest, I did not like the book at all. I finished it because I had to.

Thanks to Netgalley and the publishers for the ARC.
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3.5 stars. This book read very well and I was hooked right from the start, but at the end, I felt I had more questions than answers, not to mention that a lot of the plot seemed rather unrealistic. The necessary suspension of disbelief aside, it was a good read and I would be interested in reading more from this author in the future. While I was often very frustrated with the protagonist, Harper, I was still rooting for her throughout the entire book. 

Thank you to Net Galley and the publisher for the digital copy in exchange for an honest review.
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