4 out of 4 stars
Share This Review
The role of genetics in antisocial personality disorder is explored in this utterly spellbinding crime drama/thriller by Richard Zappa. Identical Misfortune chronicles the musings and exploits of a calculating sociopath as she schemes and kills her way into the life she has always wanted, and the homicide detective who might be the only one that can stop her.
Veronica Lynn Westbrook’s only ambition in life is to be filthy rich, drive a Porsche, and live in a villa in the Swiss Alps. How she would achieve this did not really matter. Why should it? Veronica was a narcissistic, amoral sociopath with a high IQ, willing to do just about anything to get what she wants.
The discovery of a wealthy identical twin set in motion a diabolical plan that brings Veronica that much closer to the life she has always dreamed of. Ann Livingston, a kind and loving wife and mother, is her sister's polar opposite. Sadly, she makes the mistake of seeking out the twin she was separated from at birth with dire consequences. Veronica’s plan is simple: learn everything about Ann, kill Ann, become Ann.
This has to be one of the most intriguing books I’ve read this year. From the compelling plot and writing to the dialogue to the impressive character development, everything was top notch. The prologue was as shockingly captivating as it was memorable, setting the tone for what was to come without giving anything away. The nail-biting suspense only served to enhance the quality of the plot structure.
What I loved most about the book was how the author explored the role of genetics and upbringing in inherited mental disorder. According to the author, no one gene makes someone a sociopath, but numerous inherited genes make someone at risk of having an antisocial personality disorder. He also said the chances of someone being a sociopath increase significantly if both parents demonstrated the traits of one.
Veronica and Ann, identical twins separated at birth, were adopted and raised by different but equally loving and supportive parents. Yet, while Ann turned out to be a well-adjusted, kind, and productive member of society, Veronica started exhibiting antisocial personality disorder at a young age and grew to become a sociopath. It was later revealed that their biological parents were both psychotic, which was a contributing factor to how Veronica turned out. Nevertheless, the night and day difference between Veronica and Ann’s personalities was quite fascinating. It was clear that Veronica had moments where she sought to understand why she was the way she was, sometimes wondering if it was possible to turn a new leaf. The truth is she was a prisoner of her genes and inherent nature. She could change just as easily as a leopard could shed its spots.
The editing, like everything else about the book, was flawless, which leads me to believe it was done professionally. Even the cover art was well-thought-out and eye-catching. Identical Misfortune was a well-imagined and outstanding work of fiction worthy of the maximum rating of 4 out of 4 stars. The book ended on a startling cliff-hanger, and I eagerly look forward to the sequel. Crime drama/thriller enthusiasts are sure to enjoy this one.
View: on Bookshelves