Addiction, recovery, rinse, and repeat, “All Junkie Float” has locked onto a winning formula, and author Clarke Wainikka executed this psychological thriller masterfully! From the moment you read the prologue, it is clear that the author has an innate ability to mimic the effects of addiction because it is difficult to put the book down until you reach the final chapter. Here are the reasons for a 5-star review:
Plot- The story revolves around issues plaguing the Medicine River Rehabilitation Centre. Over the past three years, someone has been keeping a watchful eye over the patients and staff. With every passing year someones dubious deception creeps deeper into the walls that are designed to be a refuge for those who need it most, including the staff. What starts off as a simple case of suicide, ends up becoming a troubling case of neglect that nobody could have predicted.
Character Development- The main characters are given a full rounded backstory that seamlessly interwove into the story. The author was able to write a single sentence that encapsulated the Characters without dredging on about insignificant details. For example, the following sentence subtly describes a Character by the name of Gabby while also establishing the relationship both she and her therapist, have developed:
" She [Annette] could generally predict when Gabby was about to have a panic attack, the tell-tale textbook symptoms always presented themselves with her." (pg 20)
These are real-world people of various ethnicity, body shape, and education level, not caricatures. Out of the entire cast, there was only one character who I found to be disappointingly underdeveloped.
Best audience- Fans of other page-turners by authors like Chelsea Cain, Mary Higgins-Clark, and Jennifer Hillier will enjoy the pace of this novel. And readers of Paula Hawkins and Gillian Flynn, who value character development for the psychologically flawed, will want to add this to their “to-read” list.
The use of both first-person and third-person omniscient narrative was smart and made sense at every turn. I applaud her use of flashbacks and natural dialogue. This novel was mindful of its ability to build suspense through exposition that does not slap you in the face. Strong descriptions made good use of all five senses.
Towards the end, there were a couple of chapters that were difficult to follow. The action felt clumsy as I struggled to visualize what was happening. I found that I had to pause often and reread paragraphs.
Overall- This novel was a satisfying psychological-thriller! Easy to read, “All Junkie Float” keeps you engaged from start to finish. Though this is the Wainikka’s second novel, it read like a bestseller from a seasoned mystery writer. The characters were well-rounded and developed, the flow had a nice balance of twists, the tone was consistent, and the end was rewarding. Just when you think you have it all figured out, like a drug, “All Junkies Float” takes ahold of you and knocks you back down. I’m excited to have been one of the first to read Wainikka’s novel, and I look forward to many more!
I believe writers are the last bastions of humanity & have a responsibility to craft thoughtful narratives. For 20 years, my world has revolved around literature: selling, teaching, and writing. I am driven by books that inspire my creative endeavors. Reviews posted will be succinct and thoughtful.