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Ana Simo’s Heartland starts with an intriguing basis: a writer who has found her creativity stifled decides the only way to reinvigorate her career is with murder. Specifically, the murder of the ex-lover of her ex-lover, but things do not always go as planned, and consequences can be unpredictable.

Falling somewhere between Crime and Punishment and Tropic of Cancer, Heartland is a word-drunk romp through a sociopathic writer’s consciousness. While the writing itself is flawless, I found myself repulsed by the main character, and, in particular, the overwhelming amount of degradation and slurs present in her perceptions of other people. There isn’t a single person in the book the writer doesn’t loathe in some fashion or another, and it is wearing on the reader. I can’t help but feel there may have been a better approach to characterization than complete sociopathy because, without any sense of sympathy, the reader does not want to spend time in her head. Beyond the sense of repulsion from the point of view, the world we find ourselves in is unbelievable in the modern era; I found myself unable to suspend my disbelief in regards to how the characters lived and made their livings.

If you don’t mind truly unsympathetic characters or enjoy self-flagellation in your main characters, then the plot itself holds quite a bit of intrigue, but it is definitely hard to see through the eyes of this protagonist.

Reviewed By:

Author Ana Simo
Star Count /5
Format Trade
Page Count 240 pages
Publisher Restless Books
Publish Date 2018-Jan-16
ISBN 9781632061508
Bookshop.org Buy this Book
Issue April 2018
Category Science Fiction & Fantasy


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