If We Were Villains

If We Were Villains

A Novel

eBook - 2017
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"Much like Donna Tartt's The Secret History, M. L. Rio's sparkling debut is a richly layered story of love, friendship, and obsession...If We Were Villains will keep you riveted through its final, electrifying moments."—Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney, New York Times bestselling author of The NestOliver Marks has just served ten years in jail – for a murder he may or may not have committed. On the day he's released, he's greeted by the man who put him in prison. Detective Colborne is retiring, but before he does, he wants to know what really happened a decade ago.As one of seven young actors studying Shakespeare at an elite arts college, Oliver and his friends play the same roles onstage and off: hero, villain, tyrant, temptress, ingénue, extra. But when the casting changes, and the secondary characters usurp the stars, the plays spill dangerously over into life, and one of them is found dead. The rest face their greatest acting challenge yet: convincing the police, and themselves, that they are blameless. Intelligent, thrilling, and richly detailed, If We Were Villains is a captivating story of the enduring power and passion of words.
Publisher: [Place of publication not identified] : [publisher not identified], 2017.
ISBN: 9781250095305
Characteristics: 1 online resource

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VaughanPLRachelP Oct 05, 2017

I've read The Secret History too many times for me not to compare this book to that at every plot pointand character introduction. There are a lot of things that let it stand on its own, though - the central friendship between the main two characters that in any other book probably would have been sidelined in favour of the bigger characters that stand out a bit more. Shakespeare fans will be doubly thrilled as they look for hints of the twists to come. Compulsively readable, you'll be satisfied when you finish this one.

Jul 19, 2017

Intriguing look at the special kind of madness that can fester in a conservatory hothouse, when a group of drama students (who speak Shakespearean, all the time) implodes. Think Whiplash, only with actors, the eponymous "villains" à la King Lear.

Pluses: Rio captures the creative energy (positive and negative) of an arts conservatory, especially on the drama side of the house. The first half of the novel courses forward at a dizzying pace. It’s the Bard and his minions on steroids, and the atmosphere is deliciously gothic.

Negatives: Villains loses momentum about halfway through, perhaps due to the strategic (and rather tricky) sequencing of the narrative. Perhaps also because the quoting of Shakespeare gets a tad old, and the characters seem a little contrived—less credible, less compelling.

JCLGreggW Feb 27, 2017

The world of a close-knit group of college students studying Shakespeare is struck by a mysterious death of one of their own. The secrets and obsessions that bind the group together slowly unravel as the tension rises. The book is riveting and will please Shakespeare fans as well as those who love slow-burn literary thrillers like Tartt’s THE SECRET HISTORY.


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