4 out of 4 stars
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Cooperative Lives by Patrick Finegan is his debut book that tells the story of a group of individuals living in a high-end cooperative building in New York. The personal and professional lives of the residents together with other characters are the main focus of the story. The book explores a wide range of themes which are captivating, emotional, and realistic representations of the world.
The novel mainly revolves around the lives of the Wallace and Roberts families. The book begins with Wallace having being divorced from Hanife his wife, unemployed from his former job, and mourning the loss of their only child Alya who passed away due to Leukemia. In the Roberts family, Susan was crippled, and Jack had lost his job as a lawyer. The author uses the two families’ misfortunes cleverly to weave an enticing story that involves great loss, betrayal, embezzlement, and espionage.
Hanife Kaplan is a secret CIA informant who disguises herself as an event planner to both her husband and their family friends. Her romantic affair with Dr. Gurhan Erdogan the President of NYL Health System was the genesis of the turmoil that befell her family. John Roberts, on the other hand, lost his job at a big law firm and is now the full caretaker of her daughter Melissa, and his wife Susan. However, he’s caught in an uncomfortable situation with a neighbor Sheldon Vogel, a widower, after a near-death incident at the street. Wallace also finds himself in trouble with the government due to his technological expertise, and he's set to prove his innocence. Susan, discovers a shocking past about her husband jack which makes her question her origin and life.
Finegan is an adept storyteller; the book is elegantly weaved to illustrate both the past and present incidences of the characters in an interesting way. The past story of the cooperative residents is intertwined with their present lives to give us a full picture of how their story unfolds. Wallace's past, for instance, made me feel bad about his present. He was once a successful Chief Technological Officer whose future cannot be ascertained. The story was fast-paced and there was no point in the book that I felt bored. Despite the large number of casts, I was enticed at each protagonist story.
Several themes are highlighted in the book, however, betrayal stood out in my case. Some individuals went out of their way to ensure their spouses or friends were comfortable only to be betrayed by them. Professional betrayal was observed on Denise to Catherine Fallis, and love betrayal by several characters. The author brought about the issue of homosexuality, how different individuals perceive it and its eventual consequences, like in the case of Helen Vogel, and Andrew Fallis. Moreover, the interrelation of espionage, technological intelligence and how it’s used to relay information used to foster war is mind-blowing. Suspense is highly enhanced in this novel, which makes it more enticing to read through the chapters. Key aspects about Marja, Susan’s identity, Agent Kroll and Jack, and the whole espionage investigation were interesting. The book triggered all sorts of emotions in me; I cried, laughed, and shook my head in awe at some point.
The book was well edited and I did not find any grammatical errors. However, I disliked the overly use of vulgar language in the book, which I think was overdone by the author. Besides that, I did not find any other flaw that could rob the book of its perfect score. I wholeheartedly rate the book 4 out of 4 stars. This is an interesting book full of mystery and captivating characters. I highly recommend it to individuals who enjoy thrillers and contemporary fiction, and anyone who would like an awesome interesting read.
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