Friday, November 14, 2014

Book Review: Last Train to Babylon by Charlee Fam

From Goodreads:
Who put the word fun in funeral? I can’t think of anything fun about Rachel’s funeral, except for the fact that she won’t be there.

Aubrey Glass has a collection of potential suicide notes—just in case. And now, five years—and five notes—after leaving her hometown, Rachel’s the one who goes and kills herself. Aubrey can’t believe her luck. 

But Rachel’s death doesn’t leave Aubrey in peace. There’s a voicemail from her former friend, left only days before her death that Aubrey can’t bring herself to listen to—and worse, a macabre memorial-turned-high-school reunion that promises the opportunity to catch up with everyone… including the man responsible for everything that went wrong between she and Rachel. 

In the days leading up to the funeral and infamous after party, Aubrey slips seamlessly between her past and present. Memories of friendship tangle with painful new encounters while underneath it all Aubrey feels the rush of something closing in, something she can no longer run from. And when the past and present collide in one devastating night, nothing will be the same again. 

But facing the future means confronting herself and a shattering truth. Now, Aubrey must decide what will define her: what lies behind… or what waits ahead.
Very well done, particularly considering that it's the authors first book.  Pacing and character development both proceed nicely.  I liked seeing how Aubrey's thoughts and feelings about Rachel change throughout the course of the book, as various events in their past are put into perspective.  I also appreciated that things didn't wrap in a neat bow for Audrey.  She and Rachel never reconcile and it's something she'll have to learn to live with.  I also appreciated that we didn't get a romantic happily ever after to tie things up perfectly.

Entertainment Value
I do have to say that my hopes for the book included something a bit darker.  I'd probably classify this more along the lines of women's fiction than as true suspense, but in terms of women's fiction I think it definitely delivers.  I'd happily put Fam on a shelf with Jodi Picoult or Anna Quindlen.  I'd probably even place her with some more dark domestic dramas like Reconstructing Amelia or Joyce Maynard.  I blew through the book in two sittings.  It's completely captivating and the characters are believable and likable enough that you want to root for them, even if they drive you to frustration at moments.

If this type of domestic suspense appeals to you - centered around female friendships and how damaging they can be, or if you're fans of any of the books and authors I mentioned above, you'll definitely want to give this one a try.

Thanks to TLC for having me on the tour.  Click here to see a full list of tour stops.


  1. I love it when a book keeps me turning pages so quickly like this one did for you. Thanks for being a part of the tour!

  2. You've made some really interesting comparisons to different authors! I'll be curious to see who I think this author is like.