Looker is Laura Sims' debut novel.
I found the cover interesting - a woman's image defaced by what seems to be various shades of lipstick. And the title as well. A looker can be used to describe an attractive woman or someone who simply watches. I was curious to see what I would find inside.
The narrator of Looker is unnamed throughout the book. She's a woman working a job she doesn't enjoy, living in a run down three floor walkup and her husband has left her. But the Actress lives at the end of her street. A woman who has everything the Narrator wants - a beautiful home, a family, a loving husband, fame and fortune. And the Narrator can't help herself - she watches, she imagines and she wants that life. When she actually has a small interaction with the Actress at the neighbourhood block party, the Narrator spirals even more out of control.
I chose to listen to Looker. Katherine Fenton was the reader and she did an absolutely fantastic job of capturing this mercurial, unpredictable and downright frightening character. The madness that is the Narrator's thoughts was really well conveyed through tone, inflection and intonation. Her reading absolutely matched the character. Five stars for her performance. Listen to an excerpt of Looker.
Sims' concept was a good one. I did find I had been expecting a different sort of book based on some of the publicity. This is not really a crime read. Instead, I found it to be a character study of a truly unhinged and mentally ill woman. We only hear from the Narrator - no one else. I was initially drawn into her narrative, but found myself drifting a bit as the book progressed. She goes over the same territory multiple times. But what is truth and what is her imaginings? I was waiting for 'something' to happen. It does, near the end, and it was good, but I found it somewhat anti-climatic after such a prolonged build up. I do want to say that Sims did a really good job of putting to paper the obsessive thinking processes of the Narrator. A decidedly different listen for me.