The Other Typist by Suzanne Rindell
Set in 1920’s New York City, this chiller starts out innocently enough. Rose Baker is a mousy typist who finds steady, if not exactly exciting work, as a typist in the New York City Police Department. Rose’s job as a transcriptionist exposes her to all kinds of seedy lowlife. But ever the professional, Rose manages to keep herself in check and is rarely rankled by the shocking confessions she is privy to.
Enter Odalie, the latest addition to the typing pool. Oozing with glamour, attitude, and loads of mystery, she quickly captivates the entire department. It seems no one is immune to her charms, least of all plain-Jane Rose. And no sooner does Odalie give Rose the time of day then they soon become inseparable. Roommates at a posh hotel, Odalie exposes Rose to the highlife she never knew. Poetry readings, art exhibits, and illicit underground nightclubs where the (illegal) booze runs freely are just a sampling of what these two do after hours. Heady with these newfound discoveries, Rose soon finds herself caught up in the dark side of the city and reluctantly discovers sometimes there is no turning back.
The author creates a protagonist so real you feel like you are actually inside her head. The narration crawls in such a suspenseful pace, it leaves you savoring the sweet agony and forces you to read late into the night. But there are no regrets. As riveting as any Hitchcock screenplay, the subtle nuances of psychological terror are absolutely spellbinding. Rose paints an eerie picture of how she unwittingly fell under the spell of a dangerous charmer without even realizing the imminent danger she was in. Even though throughout the tale we are dropped hints of the inevitable fallout there are enough red herrings meticulously and daintily dropped to keep the suspense at an all-time high.
Just like the popular TV show Boardwalk Empire this spectacular Prohibition era story contains just the right amount of grittiness and oily sheen so that all the characters in this story have you guessing their real motives underneath their dazzling facades. With an ending that leaves more questions than answers this one will surely be discussed at water coolers everywhere.
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