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1.0 out of 5 starsOMG!
Reviewed in the United States on August 8, 2019
Without a doubt one of the worst books I have read in years. Was hoping the ending would somehow justify my reading the whole thing. It did not! This novel was just about a lot of weird characters working together, having or wanting sex, and not much else. A poor person’s Fifty Shades Of Gray, which I tossed long before the ending. So sorry I finished this one because now I feel like kinky paperbacks are part of my book selections which they are not.I believe an honest review is what you wanted and I do not apologize for being honest. I will be reading another novel this evening, trying to get the taste of this one out of my mouth ASAP.
5.0 out of 5 starsWhat a ride in the theater wings of Chicago
Reviewed in the United States on October 15, 2019
At 8 pm I picked up this book and finished reading at three in the morning. I simply could not put it down.
The author has created a world that instantly sucked me in. Settings? I was there. Characters? Not likely I'd be their friend or even in their social circle, but it sure was delightful to be the fly on the wall and the worm in the their brains as their stories developed, devolved, twisted, turned, careened, stopped, started, and ultimately crashed full stop.
The ride didn't go where I thought it would. It went darker, yet not so dark (like, Gillian Flynn dark, and I love Gillian Flynn) that it made me uncomfortable. It fascinated me. The characters/people enthralled me. And it's not like they were super-human or held magical powers. They were just ... people. But the way the author dove deep into their pasts and wove their present stories together held me like seaweed in an undertow.
And that ending. Others have said they saw it coming. I only suspected.
Then a turn of the page, and ... Acknowledgements? Noooooooo! That was Gillian Flynn for me.
I know there's a next novel in the works. I'll just be over here, in the wings, with the lights off. Waiting.
5.0 out of 5 starsA wonderfully dark psychological thriller
Reviewed in the United States on October 5, 2019
There comes a moment in the last quarter of Temper (or earlier if you’re better at this game than I am) when you realize how the story must end.
When I got there, I smiled and made sure I had enough time to finish author Layne Fargo’s amazing, raw, borderline psychologically damaging debut thriller.
I love to read stories that take me into new subcultures, which really intrigued me. Fargo has a background in Chicago theater, and Temper brought me deep into that world without me knowing I was on the journey.
Then there are the characters.
Oh. My. God.
We’re first introduced to Kira Rascher, an actress who auditions for and lands a part in a two-actor Chicago play opposite the production company’s charismatic, overbearing actor/creative director, Malcolm Mercer.
The story’s POV alternates between Kira and Joanna Cuyler, Malcolm’s right-hand at their theater company who has a complicated history with her longtime nonsexual partner.
Another of my favorites is when authors use a story-within-a-story. In this case, it’s the play Kira and Malcolm are acting in, which is titled—you guessed it—Temper. I’ll stop short of giving away spoilers, but I will say these simultaneous stories are woven together beautifully and seamlessly.
But beyond all of that, my favorite part of the novel was getting into the minds of Kira and Joanna. It was so wonderfully unnerving. (As a side note, I also love Fargo’s choice NOT to use Malcolm’s point of view. You will, too, when you read it.)
I wish this were the first in a series so I could spend more time with those two characters. But the end of Temper is so satisfying that this piece of incredible psychological suspense easily stands on its own.
5.0 out of 5 starsThrilling debut worthy of a standing ovation
Reviewed in the United States on August 31, 2019
You don’t have to have spent time as a struggling actor to enjoy Temper, Layne Fargo’s twisted debut psychological thriller. Nor do you have to have suffered through an unhealthy relationship at the whims of a brilliant narcissist, or know anything about the city of Chicago. All it takes to rip through the pages of this masterfully told moral tale is to know what it is to dream big. Kira Rascher, an actor who has struggled to make her mark on the competitive Chicago theater scene, auditions for the role of a lifetime opposite Malcolm Mercer, a leading man known as much for his convention-breaking performances as the mistreatment of his co-stars. While everyone warns Kira not to get in over her head, Malcolm’s unorthodox techniques, and her own refusal to be controlled, unleash new depths in her performances. Is Malcolm torturing her, or driving her toward greatness? No pampered ingenue, Kira fearlessly matches Malcolm blow for blow, driving the tension toward opening night, even if it means losing friends along the way. Staged evocatively with the intrigue of Gaslight and the artistic drive of Whiplash, Fargo’s characters battle toward greatness, all with a simmering sexuality dangerously close to boiling over, leading to a curtain call worthy of a standing ovation.
I read a fair amount of psychological suspense, but this one stood out for all the best reasons. The story is edgy and sexy, the characters fascinatingly flawed and the theater-world setting adds an extra layer of drama. When you're dealing with a bunch of actors, how can you tell if someone's telling the truth? What's the line between inspiration and manipulation? How far would you go to achieve success? The suspense builds cleverly and intensely....right to the very end.
Reviewed in the United States on September 16, 2019
Like the play at the center of this dark, chilling, edgy novel, TEMPER is a masterpiece about haunting obsession and relentless ambition. Perfectly paced so the reader is taken on the same journey of dread and deceit the well-developed characters are, this book is an absolute must-read.
An original, compelling, flawlessly written, psychological thriller with flawed characters. The themes of control and emotional abuse coincide with an ever-increasing fill of raw emotion, passion, and a constant feeling of foreboding that ratchets up until the climatic ending I was expecting but felt sudden, and like the open ending in the play- ambiguous. I loved it, but would have liked an epilogue. I can't wait to read whatever Fargo comes up with next. She's clearly a very talented author who writes with visceral theatrical awareness (the scene detail is based mainly on texture and physical feeling), very different to the sight/sound/smell/taste I'm used to. It worked. I loved it. This should definitely be adapted to film.
4.0 out of 5 starsLangatmig zu Beginn, Fesselnd zur Mitte
Reviewed in Germany on January 9, 2020
Wer auf Theater und die Kunstszene steht, kommt vermutlich bereits zu Beginn voll auf seine Kosten. Wer jedoch nicht allzu viel Berührung damit hatte, wird sich die ersten 60 Seiten schwer tun am Ball zu bleiben. Aber dann kann man es nicht mehr weglegen