Book Review: The Gordonston Ladies Dog Walking Club By Duncan Whitehead

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Something is not quite right in the leafy Savannah neighborhood of Gordonston.

As the friends and fellow members of her afternoon cocktail club gather to mourn the death and lament the life of their neighbor, Thelma Miller, not all is what it seems.

As old friends vie for the attention of widower, Alderman and mayoral candidate Elliot, jealousies surface and friendships are strained. An old woman with a dark secret and an infamous uncle plots her revenge for a perceived wrong done over thirty years before, a once successful children’s writer with his own secret is haunted by memories of the past and aspiring model Kelly Hudd has just won the trip of a lifetime.

As secrets are revealed and history, both old and recent, unravel and an intertwined web of deceits and lies surfaces in the middle class neighborhood a killer lurks and is anyone really who they seem to be? A mysterious European gentleman in South America, a young Italian count parading the streets of Paris and a charitable and kind hearted nephew recently arrived from India add to the remarkable assortment of characters in the story of intrigue, deceit and revenge. What is the secret a recently retired accountant is trying to hide and just why did the former showgirl and attractive sixty two year old widow Carla Zipp really have plastic surgery?

As the plot thickens and the Georgia summer temperature rises we discover who is destined for an early unmarked grave in the wooded park that centers the tree-lined avenues of Gordonston.

A mysterious organization with links to organized crime, a handsome fire fighter who can do no wrong and a trio of widows with deep hidden agendas compound a story of simplistic complexity. As twists and turns lead the reader to a conclusion that they will not see coming and a sucker punch ending that will leave readers breathless, the Gordonston Ladies Dog Walking Club’s top priority remains the need to chastise the culprit who refuses to ‘scoop’ after his dog walking sessions in their treasured park.

This 20 chapter book was okay. Heidi, Cindy, and Carla were part of the Gordonston Ladies Dog Walking Cub. The other member, Thelma, had died from cancer; she hadn’t even been buried that long before Cindy and Carla fight over Thelma’s husband, Elliot. The neighborhood was like Wisteria Lane times ten. They had secrets galore and were crazy. It was awesome how psycho people became towards the end.

My favorite part was when one of the younger neighbor’s visited Paris without her husband. Once she returned home, everything unraveled in everyone’s lives. When I say everyone, I mean every single character. The story didn’t just focus on the three ladies of the club; it also involved their neighbors (two couples, two older gentleman).

It was cool once it was revealed who the hitman and director was. And I loved knowing when a character was plotting on someone else without their knowledge–it was like I was in on the secret. There were four hits requested throughout the novel but only one was picked. I liked how the ending suggested that the other ones still weren’t safe. Like maybe there could be a sequel?

The author was great with setting. The way he described things allowed me, as a reader, to see hear, taste, and smell what the characters did.

The first chapter was impressive and suspenseful. A man dug up a hole and readers knew someone will die by the end of the book. But after that, there was a bunch of headhopping (unless it was written in the omniscient point-of-view? One time a dog’s feelings was described), so I couldn’t get lost in the story. It felt like I was reading about characters instead of getting a chance to go through their journey with them. It seemed like there was a lack of immediate scenes. The story had a lot of narrative summary, so I wished there would have been more showing rather than telling.

The story started off slow, but towards the middle (and especially the ending), it picked up and was pretty interesting. I loved seeing the friendships and romantic relationships self-destruct. One other thing–facts kept being repeated throughout the story. I wish things were only told once (especially backstory). For example, chapter 1 and chapter 18 were exactly the same, word for word. I figured it was to remind readers that a guy was there to kill someone and now the plan was about to spring into action, but readers already knew that since the first chapter.

If you think you can get past the repetitiveness, then give the book a try.

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby

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3 thoughts on “Book Review: The Gordonston Ladies Dog Walking Club By Duncan Whitehead

  1. I hope you continue to review books: you write thoughtful, honest pieces, and it’s refreshing that you don’t pretend that some books are better than they are. Keep up the good work!

    • Thank you Jane. I really needed to hear that after the week I’ve had so far. I heard valuable advice on AbsoluteWrite forums this morning: reviews are for readers, not authors.

      Keep smiling,
      Yawatta

  2. Pingback: Authors Exhibiting Unprofessional Behavior–Tsk, Tsk, Tsk | yawattahosby

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