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.
...an incisive and gritty crime thriller about what it means to live as a woman in a world run by men ... a dark, utterly gripping, character-driven procedural thriller. Rutkoski effortlessly manages multiple viewpoints, storylines and motivations with the air of a seasoned crime writer. Though she begins casting a wide net writing from several perspectives, the voices are always crystal clear, instantly alive and easily recognizable ... There is much to love here, and though Rutkoski excels in her diverse representation, her observations on the violence women must expect and even prepare for makes this book unforgettable ... With the psychological underpinnings of Paula Hawkins, the utterly brilliant examination of femininity and womanhood of Gillian Flynn, and something wholly her own, Rutkoski has emerged as a thrilling new voice in crime fiction.
Solving the murder and disappearance remains at the forefront of Rutkoski’s novel, but it doesn’t overshadow the other plotlines ... There are no easy conclusions to be drawn from Real Easy, no clear-cut progression of events that allows the crime to be pieced together, but the novel’s fast pace mitigates the frustration this may cause. Rutkoski’s handling of time is masterful, and not one moment fails to meet its potential ... Rutkoski skillfully handles the complexity of a group of individuals whose stories are rarely told, let alone told with so much humanity imbued into every detail.
Veteran children’s author Rutkoski’s writing is a pleasure here; she weaves well-calibrated suspense with gritty portrayals of dancers and detectives that hold strikingly parallel themes of loneliness, painful pasts, and heavy doses of distrust.