by Marie Rutkoski
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Pub Date 18 Jan 2022 | Archive Date 18 Feb 2022
Henry Holt & Company, Henry Holt and Co.
Bringing to mind Gillian Flynn and Tana French but completely unique, Marie Rutkoski's Real Easy is a compulsive, tenacious, and unexpectedly hopeful thriller.
"[R]iveting...An adrenaline ride filled with grit and compassion."
—People, Book of the Week
It’s 1999 and Samantha has danced for years at the Lovely Lady strip club. She’s not used to mixing work and friendship—after all, between her jealous boyfriend and his young daughter, she has enough on her plate. But the newest dancer is so clueless that Samantha feels compelled to help her learn the hustle and drama of the club: how to sweet-talk the boss, fit in with the other women, and make good money. One night, when the new girl needs a ride home, Samantha agrees to drive: a simple decision that turns deadly.
Georgia, another dancer drawn into the ensuing murder and missing person investigation, gathers information for Holly, a grieving detective determined to solve the case. Georgia just wants to help, but her involvement makes her a target. As Holly and Georgia round up their suspects, the story’s point of view shifts between dancers, detectives, children, club patrons—and the killer.
Drawing on her experience as a former dancer, Marie Rutkoski immerses us in the captivating world of the club, which comes alive with complicated people trying their best to protect themselves and those they love. Character-driven and masterfully plotted, Real Easy gets to the heart of the timeless question: How do women live their lives knowing that men can hurt them?
“Very possibly the best crime fiction book since Gillian Flynn’s Sharp Objects, Real Easy is turn-your-phone-off-and-cancel-all-your-meetings gripping. But it is also so much more than that: every character is instantly alive and recognizable the moment they appear on the page; the writing is sustainedly beautiful and intelligent, at times lyrical, at others, sassy and crackling; and the psychological underpinnings are unerring, resonant, utterly convincing. This book is a winner, whichever way you turn it.”
—Neel Mukherjee, Booker-finalist author of The Lives of Others and A State of Freedom
“This book blew me away. Real Easy is an electric thrill ride that takes a hard look at the high price women pay for men’s desire. Rutkoski renders her characters with exquisite compassion and detail, even as the book accelerates toward an unforgettable conclusion. Gritty, glittery, and pulsing with life.”
—Sara Sligar, author of Take Me Apart
“With a fully-realized world, a compelling mystery, fascinating characters, and beautiful prose, Marie Rutkoski’s Real Easy will capture readers and stay in their minds forever. It is absolutely unputdownable.”
—Jill Santopolo, New York Times bestselling author of The Light We Lost
“Bold, compelling, brutal and brilliant. On the surface Real Easy is the kind of gritty, gripping mystery I just adore, yet it’s also full of heart and hope and the most endearing characters.”
—Chris Whitaker, New York Times bestselling author of We Begin at the End