I’m back to tell you all about another book set in New York City. Kings County by David Goodwillie is set mostly in my stomping ground in Brooklyn aka Kings County. This book was sent to me by Avid Reader Press of Simon & Schuster in exchange for a fair and honest review. Thank you Avid Reader Press for sending this book to me. Receiving an email from a publishing house that actually knows what my blog is about had me pleasantly surprised. I definitely had to say yes.
Guess what!? I also have a little treat for you all! I will be sprinkling in sneak peeks of my In Five Years literary date all throughout this post. That book was also published by Simon & Schuster so it seems fitting to include it here.
Book Summary of Kings County by David Goodwillie
Kings County by David Goodwillie, is set in the early 2000s and around the Occupy Wall Street time period.
We meet Audrey Benton, a young woman in her twenties, trying to make it in Brooklyn. When first moving to NYC, many move into Brooklyn then get multiple jobs along with multiple roommates all to make ends meet. That’s what Audrey and her friends do. It’s that New York City hustle that many know all too well. This book reminded me of my friends’ circle when I was a newbie to Brooklyn trying to survive in NYC. Minus one or two stark differences.
Audrey meets her shy and sweet boyfriend, Theo. Theo is also struggling as he tries to make it in the publishing world. Audrey’s work-life eventually lands her in the music world as she makes a name for herself in the Brooklyn indie music scene. She and Theo, although seemingly a mismatched pair, with her badass, tattoo-loving style and his nerdy, self-conscious ways, they nevertheless, form a close, loving bond.
However, one night while hanging with one of her bands, Audrey’s world turns upside down. She learns about the mysterious disappearance and possible suicide of an old friend of hers. This news shakes her to her core leaving her left to face a secret from her past. A secret that she buried deep. The mysterious circumstances surrounding her friend’s disappearance has her in a panic. Audrey fears that she and her friends, also involved in the murky situation from their past, could be in danger. As stuff unravels and as unsettling things keep happening, Audrey’s forced to confront her past and work through it with Theo.
First of all, Audrey Benton sounds like someone I would want to be friends with. She’d be a little too cool for me but I think she’d act like I was cool enough for her. This book had many flashbacks involving the main characters and I was invested in Audrey’s backstory. I particularly liked it when the book took us to when Audrey lived in Florida, in NASA territory. It had a nice story development surrounding her relationship with her grandma Connie along with the interesting cast of neighbors they had, which included a former astronaut. They had some EPIC launch parties!
I also enjoyed learning how Audrey and Theo’s love story evolved. Theo’s backstory revolving around his tough upbringing even interested me. All of Goodwillie’s main characters are well-developed. We get a good sense of what drives each character, which also includes Audrey’s friends, Sarah, and Sarah’s boyfriend Chris.
The book hooked me from the beginning because right away we learn about that mysterious disappearance and Audrey’s subsequent panic about it. I really wanted to know what shady thing Audrey and her friends got themselves into. I was intrigued.
However, the book goes into very lengthy backstories and flashbacks for all the characters, and for me, it was kind of frustrating because I felt it took me out of the main story for too long.
When it gets back to the main story, then my investment in the story picked back up. The final third of the story had me hooked again and it turned into a major page-turner. Towards the end, it became a little predictable, but my guess wasn’t totally right. Also, the very end made me pause and I wish I could talk it over with someone. If anyone reads this, let me know!
For me, the book had its drawbacks, but overall, it is a well-written character-driven piece. I would have preferred it to be more of a page-turner, but I guess it could be called slow-burn suspense. It’s a meaty, gritty book that I would recommend diving into. And of course, the setting is awesome but I may be a little biased.
Trigger warnings: Rape, violence against women, possible suicide, drug use
To learn more about Kings County by David Goodwillie, head to the author’s website at Davidgoodwillie.com.
Potential Tour of Brooklyn inspired by Kings County by David Goodwillie
While the characters go to many spots throughout Manhattan, I think if I did a Kings County inspired literary date, it would have to be in Brooklyn. After all, Kings County refers to Brooklyn.
Specifically, this tour of Brooklyn would take place in Williamsburg, Greenpoint, and Bushwick. These Brooklyn neighborhoods are very trendy and known for their young hipsters. The cold brewed coffee overflows in these parts. Along with trendy boutiques to get you your unique style that only every single hipster will be wearing. l may poke fun at hipsters, but I do like hanging out in these neighborhoods. They are very cool to explore and lots of great restaurants and, of course, as the book demonstrates, a vibrant indie music scene. Also, I did live in Greenpoint for a year, so I’d love to show you all around.
Besides hipsters, the culture of these neighborhoods also includes, a strong Hasidic Jewish population, Puerto Rican, Dominican, Polish, and Italian populations (just to name a few). A great melting pot!
Kings County name drops so many restaurants, music venues, bars, parks, you name it! Too many to mention here. Fuggedaboutit! I wouldn’t even be able to get to half of the places mentioned in the book.
Lots of possibilities!
Until then, here’s more from my sneak peek into my In Five Years literary date…
I was pleasantly surprised to see Audrey Hepburn during this literary date because she inspired my whole blog. Check out the post that inspired it all, my Breakfast at Tiffany’s Tour.
Next up on the blog will be my In Five Years literary date and I’ll put up a poll so you all can help me decide my next NYC book.
Thank you all for reading! Stay safe!
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