ShortBookandScribes #BookReview – One of the Good Guys by Araminta Hall

One of the Good Guys by Araminta Hall will be published by Macmillan on 4th January in hardcover, eBook and audiobook. My thanks to Laura Sherlock for the proof copy.

If most men say they’re one of the good guys, then why are so many women afraid to walk alone at night?

Cole is the perfect husband: a romantic, supportive of his wife, Mel’s career, keen to be a hands-on dad, not a big drinker. A good guy.

So when Mel leaves him, he’s floored. She was lucky to be with a man like him.

Craving solitude, he accepts a job on the coast and quickly settles into his new life where he meets reclusive artist Lennie.

Lennie has made the same move for similar reasons. She is living in a crumbling cottage on the edge of a nearby cliff. It’s an undeniably scary location, but sometimes you have to face your fears to get past them.

As their relationship develops, two young women go missing while on a walk protesting gendered violence, right by where Cole and Lennie live. Finding themselves at the heart of a police investigation and media frenzy, it soon becomes clear that they don’t know each other very well at all.

This is what happens when women have had enough . . .

I’d seen lots of early reviews of One of the Good Guys talking about how good it was. Initially I wasn’t sure whether I wanted to read a feminist thriller, but I was drawn in by the synopsis which asks the question ‘if most men say they’re one of the good guys, then why are so many women afraid to walk alone at night?’, and let me tell you, I have read this amazing book quicker than I’ve read any book for quite a while. It hooked me from page one and didn’t let go until I read the last page.

Cole is one of the aforementioned ‘good guys’. He treated Mel, his wife, well and was supportive towards her. Why on earth she left him is a mystery to him. We hear from Cole, we hear from Mel and we hear from Lennie, an artist who lives in a clifftop cottage close to Cole. There’s also a linked story of two young women walking the coast path to raise awareness of violence against women. The story is told in first person accounts interspersed with interviews, opinion pieces, texts, podcasts and articles. It’s perfectly formulated to keep up the reader’s interest and makes for a thought-provoking read which certainly made me think and question my own feelings.

One of the Good Guys is an uncomfortable read at times, with some disturbing features, not least the response from social media warriors who of course must put their two penn’orth in and who all believe their opinion is the right one. The crumbling clifftop setting is at turns both beautiful and menacing, mother nature wreaking havoc upon the coastline, and the plot itself is so incredibly relevant, drawing on some real events and entwining them with the narratives of the characters to make a truly arresting and unforgettable book. Brilliant!

Araminta Hall has worked as a writer, journalist and teacher. Her first novel, Everything & Nothing, was published in 2011 and became a Richard & Judy read that year. Her second, Dot, was published in 2013.

She teaches creative writing at New Writing South in Brighton, where she lives with her husband and three children. She is the great niece of Dodie Smith and great granddaughter of Lawrence Beesley, who survived the Titanic and wrote a bestselling account of the tragedy in the book, The Loss of the SS Titanic.

Our Kind of Cruelty, was published by Penguin Random House in 2018. It is a deeply unsettling thriller of a love story, in which a secret game between lovers has deadly consequences…

Her book, Perfect Strangers, was published in August 2020 by Orion. The hardback and US edition (FSG) were published as Imperfect Women.

Her novel, Hidden Depths, was published by Orion in March 2022.

Her new novel, One of the Good Guys, will be published by Zando in the US, and Macmillan in the UK in January 2024.


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