Monday, November 20, 2017

POISON BY GALT NIEDERHOFFER - BOOK REVIEW

When I first heard about this book, I figured it was going to be another one of those domestic thrillers going around. You know, the one with the charming-from-the-outside family and dark secrets. In many ways, it was. But this book is also unlike any other I have read before. The use of poison as a murder weapon is so sinister, yet just on the verge of physically improvable in court, a brilliant twist on what has become the classic storyline.

Hello everyone!

I am back with another review, today it is Poison by Galt Niederhoffer. Thank you so much to St. Martin's Press and NetGalley for providing me with an eARC of this book for an honest review. As always, all opinions are my own.


The story follows Cass and her second husband, Ryan. After the death of her first husband, Cass, a professor on track for tenure and mother of two children, wasn't necessarily looking for anyone. But Ryan came into her life like a force of nature, full of charm and excitement. After being married for four years and having a son together, the family is the picture of happiness. Except Ryan has started to act strangely. He slips up, first just on little details and then on big things involving the children. Cass begins to question some of his actions and is soon met with anger and violence. Unfamiliar with this side of her husband, Cass believes she is being poisoned by Ryan, in an effort to regain control of his life and his family.

Before I get too far into this book I just want to mention that there are some trigger warnings for physical and verbal domestic abuse, as well as borderline sexual abuse. The scenes weren't necessarily graphic, but they were fairly frequent and may be harmful to some readers.

The small fact alone that this book was based on Niederhoffer's own poison lawsuit with her ex-husband made this story all the more real and fascinating. Often times, authors put a lot of themselves in their books, and this is a literal example of that.

I think this book was really well-written and extremely timely in terms of current events. Cass is a professor and former journalist who knows how cases like this go. Echoing cases of sexual assault, there is often little evidence and the victims, usually but not always female, become the ones being tried. Cass believes she is being poisoned by arsenic, a heavy metal that is in enough foods that it wouldn't be noticeable in small doses, but strong enough to warrant symptoms.

However, to a society that, especially in this case, favours the man, these reactions to the arsenic seem subtle and unnoteworthy. They are a result of a non-existent mental illness Ryan conjures up for Cass, a way for her to get back at him for an unproven affair. Some people even go so far as to assume she is poisoning herself to make Ryan look guilty. The story sheds a great deal of light on cases such as this one and how easy it is to be dismissed and not believed. That may be one of the most terrifying feelings in the world - being of sound mind and not believed by the police, judges, your own mother.

Generally speaking, I did enjoy this book. The first little bit was trickier to get into. Niederhoffer has a unique writing style and the narration, especially in the first few chapters was different from many other books I've read. But once I adjusted to the style, I couldn't put the book down.

I won't spoil it but I will just say that I am really happy with how Niederhoffer handled the ending. I think there could have been a very easy way to go with it, but she, I believe, chose the ending that was best suited to this storyline. In terms of reality, I would, unfortunately, assume that things wouldn't turn out quite as they did in the book, but that is the beauty of fiction, isn't it?

Overall, this book was a different look at the classic he-said/she-said thriller.