Read As Good as Dead by Elizabeth Evans Online


At the high-octane Iowa Writers' Workshop, small-town Charlotte is thrilled and confounded by her relationship with charismatic and sophisticated Esmé: One moment, Esmé appears to be Charlotte's most intimate friend; the next, her rival. After a tumultuous weekend, Charlotte's insecurities and her resentment toward Esmé reach a fever pitch. Blindly, Charlotte strikes out-iAt the high-octane Iowa Writers' Workshop, small-town Charlotte is thrilled and confounded by her relationship with charismatic and sophisticated Esmé: One moment, Esmé appears to be Charlotte's most intimate friend; the next, her rival. After a tumultuous weekend, Charlotte's insecurities and her resentment toward Esmé reach a fever pitch. Blindly, Charlotte strikes out-in an act of betrayal that ultimately unleashes a cascade of calamities on her own head.Twenty years later, Charlotte is a successful novelist. A much-changed Esmé appears, bringing the past that Charlotte grieved over, and believed buried, to the doorstep of Charlotte and her beloved husband. Charlotte finds herself both frightened and charmed. Though she yearns to redeem the old friendship and her transgression, she is wary-and rightly so.As Good As Dead performs an exquisitely tuned psychological high-wire act as it explores the dangers that lie in wait when trust is poisoned by secrets and fears....

Title : As Good as Dead
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781620402986
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 258 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

As Good as Dead Reviews

  • Elyse
    2019-06-07 08:18

    4.5 Rating Magnificently crafted story. Slow to start, which is insightful in itself because our intimacy with each of the characters grows organically. The author examines the complexity of friendships, relationships, and secrets. Brilliantly and sharply written! This story will resonate with anyone who has ever wavered in choices made, and felt self-conscious while at the same time feeling confident, (ie about one's job, talent, beauty, economic status). The biggest weakness is the book's 'title'. It does not represent an honest depiction of the life which is actually going on within the pages. Elizabeth Evens tackles big issues in the area of relationships and friendships. The landscape for her characters takes place within a writers world"The Writers World" --took on a life of its own --(almost its own character). One of my 'favorite' characters in this story to boot! I've debated on how I would write this review. I could write something about each of the they are so well-developed. Or I could tell more about the story itself --but instead, I've chosen to quote a few of my favorite lines in the book --(there are 'many' others). I think its best to read this novel 'being relaxed'. Do not expect a bloody -earth-shaking -thriller with tons of action -- rather sit back and savor the writing and allow for your own deep thoughts to speak.Quotes: (in no order)1) "a hole had been blasted in the dam that held the sweet millpond of our life in place"2)"I hated that! His acting as if everything he did in life he did to please me! It was absurd!"3)"I suppose one reason I became a writer was that writing allowed you to edit your thoughts until you got them right."4)"My heart was slamming the wall of my chest so hard it was difficult to imagine that he did not notice." 5) "I was - as folks sometimes described themselves at AA meetings --an egomaniac with an inferiority complex?" 6) "Like some prodigious waterfall whose thundering and spume drown out all other sounds and sights, my sense of necessity blocked any scruples that I ordinarily possessed."

  • Gina
    2019-06-12 04:25

    Oh man. This is a hard review to write. I really wanted to get into this book. I really, really did. (I'm from IC and was looking forward to getting an insider's perspective on the Iowa Writer's Workshop.) The title grabbed me. However, this book is like a paint by number picture. All the parts of the picture are there and technically correct, but there's no passion. I tried to feel something - love, hate, disgust, you name it - for ANY of the four main characters, but I didn't really care what happened to them. And I didn't care that I didn't care. I kept waiting for the story to start, if that makes sense. All of the tension and suspense is wrapped up in the title of this book, and not the story itself.

  • Tina Hayes
    2019-05-21 10:37

    AS GOOD AS DEAD by Elizabeth Evans falls more into the genre of literary fiction, and is not the "exquisitely tuned psychological high-wire act" the jacket blurb described it as. The book is about Charlotte dealing with an old college friend. She lived with Esme for a short time 20 years before, Charlotte made a bad choice back then and now Esme shows up at her house. Parts of this book are very touching, and the reader gets to see Charlotte grow as a person despite a few hard circumstances she has to deal with. And I liked the way the author revealed Esme's true character as the story unfolded.There were two things I particularly did not like. First, Jeremy Fletcher had absolutely no redeeming qualities so I never understood why the beautiful Esme was so smitten by him, and he was written as a very bad Southern caricature. For example, the author kept having him misuse the word "y'all" (a contraction for you all), which as a Southerner myself I can tell you is a plural pronoun, even though the fictional Alabama native only used it as singular, which was confusing. *SPOILER ALERT* Second, the ending would have been so much more fulfilling if Charlotte had at last clashed with her BFF/Rival, or even if Esme had been shown in the final scene she was mentioned in. I did enjoy the author's the voice, and the story did hold my interest as I read.

  • Joanne Robertson
    2019-06-09 08:35

    I think that from the synopsis of this novel I was expecting something a little more dramatic, a psychological thriller with a build up to a "what happened 20 years ago" volcano erupting. But I was sadly disappointed.This novel follows Charlotte who 20 years ago was room mates with Esme at a writer's workshop. Things happened and they went their separate ways until Esme shows up on Charlottes doorstep, with an invitation to dinner. But Charlotte had tried to contact Esme and had no reply so why, now, is she attempt to rebuild that friendship?I kept waiting for something to happen in this novel and it really seemed to drag for me. Don't get me wrong, this is beautifully written and well researched but I really didn't have any sympathies for the totally unlikable characters! I didn't care what had happened in the past! And it just fizzled out at the end-as I said, where were the fireworks? The tension?Elizabeth Evans is a fabulous writer but this book, unfortunately, just wasn't my cup of tea.I received a copy of this book via netgalley in return for an honest review.

  • Patty
    2019-05-19 10:19

    As Good As DeadByElizabeth EvansThe main and most important characters in this book...Esme and Charlotte are the key players in this book. We can add husbands...Jeremy and Will...but both are very annoying!My very brief story summary that includes bits and bobs from the beginning, middle and end of this book...Esme and Charlotte were friends earlier in their lives...they met at a writer's workshop sort of event and became roommates. Due to a " crazed out of her mind" event that was a betrayal to Esme...Charlotte really has not seen her in years. Then one day Esme turns up at Charlotte's door and invites her to dinner. It's a tad difficult to summarize this story without telling what Charlotte did...but I really don't want to tell you what Charlotte wasn't that one was married yet but she...Charlotte...always felt badly about it and has sort of paid for it over the years...but that's only if you believe in actual most favorite part of this book...As far as character appeal...I did not like anyone in this book other than Charlotte. She was sweet...she was a good wife...a great sister...she even worried about the kitty outside that she fed in spite of Will ordering her not to. The husbands in this book were not appealing to me at all. Jeremy was an idiot and Will seemed passively aggressive. It seemed as though his relationship with Charlotte was too confined. He took care of her but it seemed mildly controlling. He didn't want children, he didn't want her to feed the cat...he didn't want her to water her beloved oleander plant. I did not sense passion but I just did not like all. When Charlotte finally...after all the years that passed told him what happened years ago...he reacted in a childlike manner. I actually wondered if they would stay together. For me...the ending was just a bit dissatisfying. So sorry, Ms. Evans, but it was. My actual true feelings about this book and whether or not other potential readers will enjoy it...I can not say that I did not enjoy this book because I did. I did not feel drawn to the characters...Esme was so irritating...but I did love Charlotte's reaction at the end. I did like the pictures that entered my mind because of this book...the potatoes baking, the blue Mexican plates, the oleander's red blooms, the desert outside Charlotte's window...all of those were picturesque and lovely. I just wasn't that caught up in the drama...that really didn't seem all that dramatic. So...potential readers? This one is a decision you should make on your own...I just didn't love it...but...I liked it.

  • Julie - Book Hooked Blog
    2019-06-14 05:38

    WritingFor the most part, I think the writing here was nicely done. I think the author did a fantastic job of capturing the characters, up until the end. And maybe my critique of the end belongs more in the entertainment value portion of the review. The problem I had was with a character who basically abdicates all personal responsibility to her husband and allows him to solve her problems for her. I'm not sure whether I can legitimately consider this a writing issue, because it is in line with how the character behaves historically, but it ultimately means that our protagonist shows absolutely no growth. It's something I'd love to discuss with the author and perhaps understand better. Are we meant to see that Charlotte hasn't changed at all from her graduate school days and has learned nothing from her experience with Esme or is that a flaw in the writing? From what I can tell, we are meant to sympathize with Charlotte, which leads me to lean more towards a flaw in characterization.Entertainment ValueAgain, I thoroughly enjoyed the story until the ending, where I felt like rather than resolve the open ended tension and conflict with Esme, Charlotte hides behind her husband. The result is a let down, as you spend the majority of the novel expecting a much more dramatic and satisfying conclusion after everything that builds up over the course of the novel. I loved the college setting and the elements of writing and academia throughout, and I did find the book to be engrossing, but it was ultimately unsatisfying.OverallI'd say read it if the academic setting or the novel's themes of writing as a profession, writing workshop experiences, etc. are particularly appealing. If you're expecting something with high drama or dark overtones, that's not exactly what you'll find. It's more of a character study centered around women's relationships in a competitive environment. If the setting or the idea of female competition don't attract you, I think this is one you'll want to skip.Thanks to NetGalley for providing me with a copy to review.

  • Andy Miller
    2019-06-16 12:12

    One attractive quirk about this novel is that the author went to the famous Iowa Writer's workshop and that workshop is key to the novel. So when Charlotte, the main character, recounts her time at the workshop from 20 years earlier, including the parties, the manipulations, the visiting famous writers, there is a ring of authenticityCharlotte is a successful author/writing professor at the University of Arizona where her husband is also a professor. Charlotte unexpectedly receives a visit from Esme, her best friend from the Iowa Writer's workshop 20 years earlier, but who had ended contact with Charlotte apparently after she learned of Charlotte's one night stand with her then boyfriend and now husband. The novel shifts back and forth between her current life and her life 20 years earlier in the Iowa writer's workshop, placing the betrayal in context. Some of the best writing is Charlotte recounting the awkwardness of her coming to the workshop from a rural Iowa background where both parents dropped out of school and did not value education to a school populated by the writing elites and many students from wealthy, elite familiesThe author, Elizabeth Evans, keeps the two stories in synch, they both reach the climax at the same time, the recounting of the actual betrayal 20 years earlier comes at virtually the same time as the climax of the reason why Esme re-entered Charlotte's life 20 years laterA great read!

  • Julie
    2019-05-30 11:25

    Based on the synopsis and the ominous title, I was expecting something sinister from this book. Esme and Charlotte had an uneasy friendship when they were roommates at the Iowa Writer’s Workshop. So when Esme suddenly appears at Charlotte’s front door twenty-some years later, I was anticipating that she was some knife-wielding psychopath looking to settle a vendetta. It’s really much tamer than that and most of the book is Charlotte’s recollections of how she wronged Esme and the difficulties of their friendship decades prior.I did enjoy the inside glimpses of a writer’s life, and despite Charlotte’s flaws, I respected her ambition. Though Esme was conniving on behalf of her creepy husband, she was more one-dimensional. On the whole, it’s really a portrayal of friends who are competitive, jealous, and somewhat selfish. While both women have their own dose of crazy, there are no revelations that are in anyway dangerous or disturbing.I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher.

  • Bonnie
    2019-05-18 11:37

    I received an ARC. As Good As Dead is an appropriate title since betrayal stopped the relationship between two friends. The one who was betrayed probably has written off her friendship with woman who has done the wrong thing. At the same time, though, I felt the friendship was little tensed at times due to envy. I think it was inevitable that it would end. Fear is at the heart of this story in my opinion. I think Charlotte was afraid to be herself at times and wanted her best friend to like her. After the betrayal, I think Charlotte wasn't really able to move on until she has accepted what happened and that she couldn't continue living being afraid of being found out. Ultimately, her friend took advantage of what happened and tried to blackmail her. Charlotte finally did what needed to be done and shared her secret with her husband. I was very drawn to the story and wondered what would happen. As much as it hurt the person she loved the most, I think it finally brought them to the point of rediscovering each other. I really liked this book.

  • Shikole
    2019-05-17 11:10

    The plot, characters and writing style all had be completely captivated until the end. I actually thought "that's it?" when I read the last paragraph. There was fantastic foreshadowing and build up to every secret revealed by Charlotte that had me on the edge of my seat and I think ending deserved to be more along the same lines.

  • Joselyn Schwerdt
    2019-05-17 09:12

    I really enjoyed the writing and character development. Unfortunately, the story was lacking and did not hold interest to me.

  • Rhonda Lomazow
    2019-06-03 05:28

    This is as a page turning read for me A knock on a door old friends reconnecting .a hidden past act that could destroy marriages .

  • Ian
    2019-06-06 04:15

    In Elizabeth Evans’ novel As Good as Dead, 40-something Charlotte Price has built a solid if unspectacular career as a novelist while teaching creative writing at the University of Arizona, where her husband Will also teaches. Twenty years earlier, Charlotte was a student at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. At Iowa, she met Esmé Cole. As a matter of convenience, the two young women—both fiction writers—became roommates, building a friendship based, at least in part, on a mutual need for companionship and their polar-opposite personalities: Charlotte: studious, shy, riddled with self-doubt; Esmé: outgoing, confident, sexually aggressive. Evans’ novel starts twenty years after Iowa, with Esmé showing up unannounced on Charlotte’s Tuscon doorstep. Charlotte’s astonishment at Esmé’s sudden appearance after twenty years is due to the total silence that has prevailed for much of that time and her guilt over a betrayal for which she’s never managed to forgive herself. Still, despite some misgivings, she is willing to see if the friendship can be revived. Charlotte and Will accept a dinner invitation, which Esmé extends on behalf of herself and her husband Jeremy. Jeremy, who became Esmé’s boyfriend and lover while at the workshop, turns out to be the same boorish asshole that Charlotte remembers with little fondness. The evening is a disaster, and in a dramatically fraught moment when the two women are alone together, Esmé informs Charlotte why she approached her after all these years. Much of the subsequent narrative flashes back to Iowa, showing us the friendship between Esmé and Charlotte in its formative and more developed stages. Charlotte is alternately fascinated by Esmé and repelled by her friend’s manipulative and sometimes cruel behaviour, but usually finds herself unable to resist when Esmé pushes her in directions she would not normally go on her own. The flashback section culminates in a boozy, drug-fueled encounter, the unpleasant consequences of which Charlotte finds herself staring at twenty years later. Elizabeth Evans’ prose, stylistically breezy, can seem tossed off but is often astonishing in its descriptive clarity and level of detail. She stimulates her reader’s senses, relentlessly it seems, and without apparent effort infuses her characters and the Tuscon and Iowa settings with great depth and complexity. The novel is narrated by Charlotte, and as the noose tightens we become deeply invested in her dilemma and wonder how she is going to resolve a morally untenable situation that threatens her career and her marriage. For this reason, the ending might leave the reader feeling, dramatically speaking, a bit shortchanged. Still, As Good as Dead tells a thoroughly gripping story, one that delivers more tension and suspense than we have any right to expect of a novel about people who make their livelihoods writing and teaching.

  • Whitney
    2019-06-16 06:33

    Charlotte Price is a pathetic nit wit with no self respect. This is not a line from the novel but my own observation.As Good As Dead is the story of two women who meet at a writer’s workshop, claim to be “friends” yet do little to show that except for an occasional moment. They grow distant over the years, with Charlotte harboring a secret that causes stress on their relationship as well as with her husband. Without giving really anything a way, the reader should be prepared for a lot of whining and groveling from our dear protagonist. At 40+ years of age, Charlotte still allows her life to be led by Esmè Cole, the aforementioned “friend”. While they haven’t seen each other in years, her mere existence is enough to render Charlotte a fool.I have little to no tolerance for women who cannot stand on their own two feet and live their whole life trying to please one is their friends - and that is Charlotte Price in a nutshell. I nearly dropped a star from my review because of how much that character annoyed me. This books is very well written, however, so I left it as is.

  • Nicola
    2019-05-31 05:30

    Good characters but not an interesting enough storyline

  • Asra Ghouse
    2019-05-22 05:27

    This review was first published in The Hans IndiaA friendship from 20 years ago, a long held secret, mistakes from the past and the unceasing gnaw of guilt—this is literary fiction at its best; a treat for lovers of books and good writingAn ocean full of secretsAlmost everyone has that one friend whom you wronged and wish to avoid for the rest of your life yet; deep down you have a yearning to redeem yourself in front of that person.Best friends and roommates, Charlotte and Esmé have everything two girls would want in a friendship. However, as it happens with deep, close and intense relationships, insecurity sprouts, which grows into envy. One starts living in fear, harbouring secrets and consequently, one (or more) unfortunate error occurs by one or both of them.So is the story of these two women, who meet while pursuing a course at the Iowa Writer’s workshop and apart in 1988. Now, twenty years later, Charlotte is a successful author and professor at the University of Arizona where her husband, Will is also a professor.A changed Esmé arrives at Charlotte’s doorstop, bringing with her the grim details of the past—Esmé, who had ended the friendship after she learned of Charlotte’s one-night stand with her then boyfriend (and later, husband, who is also a writer), Jeremy. Esmé asks her “old friend” to visit for dinner that turns out to be a ploy to blackmail Charlotte; she behests Charlotte to forge results of a writing contest (for which she is on the judge’s panel) and select Jeremy’s manuscript as the winner—Jeremy has not had much success as a writer.The novel shifts back and forth between Charlotte’s present and past as the narration places the betrayal in context, which has had Charlotte ridden with guilt throughout her life. The final blow comes when Esmé threatens to reveal Charotte’s betrayal to Will and Charotte is left at the brink of losing it all.‘As Good as Dead’ is a fearless novel that gives us an unadulterated glimpse into the mind of a writer where thoughts are always taking shape of sentences in rapid succession. More than the story, it is the writing style and narration in which lies the beauty of the novel. Evans keeps the two stories in sync—the past and the present reach climax together.The narration is a reminder of the likes of Jerome K Jerome’s classic, ‘Three Men in a Boat’; of course, that was more humourous—Evans’ book, though, is more serious. Nevertheless, it does come across as a friendly encounter with the author, who could just as well be sitting across a coffee table and narrating stories to the reader, one after the other, in rapid succession.However, this is definitely a difficult book. Readers are advised to take their time with it; cherish the juicy flavour of each word strung together in explicitly expressive sentences that portray the never-ending chain of thoughts that go on in a writer’s head as portrayed by Charlotte—the intricate observation skills, the social awkwardness and difficulty in holding on to relationships, the over-thinking and most of all, the moral ambiguity writers face in life.It might seem that the story may get lost in the avalanche of words. However, Evans manages to hold on to the readers’ emotions with the intensity of Charlotte’s relationships with Will and Esmé. The book ends on an open note and readers are left to decide the fate of Charlotte and Will. While things can go either way, it would be remiss not to quote a dialogue written by Chuck Lorre for ‘The Big Bang Theory’, “We all make mistakes. Let’s move on.”

  • Cleo Bannister
    2019-06-10 11:16

    Firstly this book appears to be marketed as a psychological thriller which revolves around an event twenty years in the past, this isn’t a good reflection of the book as the drama that is associated with this type of read is more or less entirely missing. What the reader does get is a look at the lives of two women who were undoubtedly set on a path by the crucial event. It is a look at friendship, loyalty and perhaps more subtly responsibility.Charlotte is shy and comes from a non-literary background when enrols at the Iowa Writing Workshop when she meets Esmé, the woman who is to become her best friend. The two girls end up sharing a room while Charlotte waits for her boyfriend to join her on his return from Italy. Meanwhile, despite claiming to be shy and describing Charlotte as her best friend ever the friendship appears to be balanced in her favour from the very start. The author really does illustrate the realities of a competitive relationship between two young women.The mystery is opened up by Esmé suddenly appearing on Charlotte’s doorstep twenty years after they parted company, an act which seems to be all the more bewildering because Charlotte had attempted to contact her previously and received no response. Why Esmé has reappeared is explored in flashbacks to the past and filled in with details of Charlotte’s literary success in the present. I felt that the lives the two girls led in the past was accurately portrayed, in particular Charlotte’s insecurity without ever labouring the point; my favourite kind of writing.Indeed I loved the writing style, the slow understanding of the relationship between the girls, and later on their partners, which are typified by the least edifying of human characteristics, jealousy, envy and selfishness. None of these characters are ones who I’d fancy spending a great deal of time with, but this is barely recognised let alone confronted by those involved who for the main part are trying to keep a secret or expose one. The writing style is totally engaging and I was quickly drawn into the story but I would categorise this as literary fiction rather than boldly stating ‘As Good As Dead performs an exquisitely tuned psychological high-wire act’! The reality is one where instead of action, quiet contemplation is required by the reader to consider what happens when you can no longer trust those who you believe care about you.Charlotte in particular seems to have deferred every major decision in her life to her husband whilst managing to hold down a successful literary career in a competitive world which brilliantly illustrates the seemingly competing sides of our personalities which is exactly what makes her feel so human to the reader. I might not have particularly warmed to her character but I felt I understood what made her tick. Esmé on the other hand wanted the easy route through life, she wants to have the literary career, the sought-after boyfriend, friends and family and turns to manipulation to get what she wants.I’m not sure there is the substance or thrills included in this book based on the title or marketing that will satisfy the readers if that is what they are looking for, but I did enjoy this exploration of friendship and what happens when the bomb of betrayal is let off in its centre!I’d like to thank Bloomsbury Publishing for allowing me to read a copy of As Good As Dead, prior to the publication date of 19 November 2015 in return for my honest opinion.

  • Jill's Book Cafe
    2019-05-23 09:37

    I was looking forward to reading this from the blurb as it sounded intriguing and was billed as an exquisitely tuned psychological high-wire act. It started well, when Charlotte's old college friend Esme appeared unannounced on her doorstep. It was clear that Charlotte was both pleased but apprehensive after having tried to make her own contact with her years previously. The first question Charlotte was asking herself was why show up now and the second was did Esme know what happened all those years ago? So far so good, the story was set up to reveal a secret that was potentially explosive for Esme and her husband Jeremy, and also for Charlotte and her husband Will.Unfortunately the story then slowed down and went on the back burner with a long winded reveal of what had happened and an insight into the characters of the 4 main protagonists. Despite Charlotte's assertions as to how wonderful her friendship had been with Esme I began to wonder exactly how good a friend she had been. Certain of her actions, particularly the one that in essence set the ball rolling in what would prove Charlotte's undoing was especially unfriendly. Esme's boyfriend had no redeeming qualities whatsoever and Will was fairly bland. Charlotte was the only one that seemed caring and nice, but she was plagued with insecurities and numerous ghosts from the past that got in the way of her actually living a normal balanced life.When the reveal came, I didn't feel that what happened was actually that explosive. Hard to believe, but not explosive. The real damage was caused by the not coming clean and owning up to what had happened. As the past has a habit of doing, it did eventually catch up with Charlotte, as was presaged by Esme's visit, and in the end she was forced to tell all. This should have resulted in tension and recrimination, but the ending was just flat and I was left thinking is that it? Sadly the answer was yes.This sounds very critical, but I think that partly lies in the way that the blurb builds the book up to be something it isn't, it certainly lacked the psychological edge I was anticipating. It's more a look at the mistakes people make and the way relationships are made and broken on falsehoods and omissions. Had that been the emphasis in the blurb I'd have enjoyed the book more for what it was, rather than been disappointed by what it wasn't. I received an advanced review copy via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

  • Belinda
    2019-05-17 05:27

    A shy girl from a small town and working class family, Charlotte is ecstatic to be accepted into the prestigious Iowa Writers Workshop. She heads to Iowa City to find an apartment and meets the beautiful and beguiling Esme. She and Esme move in together and become best friends. Many years pass and Charlotte is a published author and tenured professor. Her university boyfriend, who was away in Italy completing his doctoral research while Charlotte lived with Esma, is now her husband, and he and Charlotte live a settled life in Tuscon. Charlotte and Esme are no longer friends; Esme moved away from Iowa and stopped answering Charlotte's letters. Out of the blue, an older, fatter, less beautiful Esme turns up at Charlotte's house and all of the wounds she thought had healed from the past reopen, tearing her life apart.This book has some really good points. It is very well written and it is an excellent evocation of life in academia. I was not surprised to red that Evans herself is an emeritus professor - the academic aspects of the book are incredibly authentic. I also thought it did an excellent job of capturing the rivalries and love in some university female friendships, where neither of you are sure who you really are yet. It does have a few problems, though. Esme's husband, Jeremy, who Charlotte slept with while he was dating Esme and Charlotte was dating Will (not a spoiler - it's revealed in the first chapter) is so repulsive that it's impossible to understand why he would come between the beautiful Esme and the talented Charlotte. Nor did I buy that Esme would do what she did at the end of the novel - it was set in the 1980s, not the 1950s, and her actions seemed more suitable to an earlier time. Plus I found the ending of the novel such an anticlimax! Because the book starts so strongly but tapers off near the end, I wonder if it just lacked enough meat to be a fully fledged novel and the story might have been better suited to a novella format.Despite these flaws I enjoyed reading this book and would definitely read another Elizabeth Evans novel. Three stars.

  • Angelnet
    2019-06-11 08:13

    As Good as Dead is described in the book notes as "an exquisitely tuned psychological high-wire act" and unfortunately this is a bit misleading. As I went into this book I was expecting a fast paced psychological thriller and instead i got a literary analysis of Charlotte's relationships with her short-lived college room mate Esme and with the effect that it continues to have on her adult life. Charlotte is a small town Iowa girl and when she goes off to college to study to be a writer she is shy and lonely and uncertain of her place in this new life. When she is looking for a new apartment to rent she meets the larger than life Esme who convinces her to share with her. Esme is an odd character, very manipulative and quickly realises that she can exploit Charlotte weaknesses to her advantage. These weaknesses include Charlotte's battles with alcoholism and drugs. It is testament to her skill and power that twenty years later Charlotte still feels a pull to the angry and embittered Esme. As an adult and a College Professor with tenure, Charlotte still appears to be the same lost and naive Iowa farmgirl. Lonely, with no close female friends, and unsure of the strength of her twenty year marriage to Will. He is older than her, he takes charge. Charlotte concedes to his view on most things. While it seems a fairly normal life, and indeed professionally successful, Charlotte still has skeletons in her closet and they all go back to her time with Esme. Reading it as a piece of literary fiction and an analysis of a toxic relationship I'd probably give it closer to four stars but the book notes threw me off track and I was expecting something far more explosive and possibly more unconventional. Supplied by Net Galley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

  • Poweredby Reading
    2019-06-02 05:08

    The basic premise is the events that follow an old college friend (Esmé) suddenly arriving back in the life of the main character (Charlotte) after 20 years. Esmé was very important to Charlotte for a brief period of time, a larger than life extrovert who made a significant impact on Charlotte only to then disappear from her life for various reasons. This really intrigued me, not least because I can think of at least a couple of people I went to university with, intensely important to me at the time but who I haven’t seen since, that I would be quite startled to see again!Described as an ‘exquisitely tuned psychological high-wire act’ this led me to think that at any point the plot might take a dark turn, but this wasn’t really the case and I think is an example of the blurb overstating the drama to try draw readers in. However, the more understated development of events was more to my taste anyway. This is a book about life’s smaller dramas, everyday events and betrayals that nonetheless have a deep impact. The writing is exquisite, tight without a superfluous word in sight, switching between the past and the present seamlessly, unfolding the long-held secrets one tiny piece at a time. The ending could be viewed as a bit unsatisfying but on reflection I felt it was consistent with the book as a whole, which lacked melodrama but not intensity.See my full review here:

  • Lynn Brown
    2019-05-24 08:33

    I settled down with this book hoping for a really intriguing read. Unfortunately my intrigue waned when the book began to weave back and forth and bring in issues from the past. I read on hoping that these would be integral to the story - which they were, but it was so drawn out that when we came back to the future I thought I had missed something. I read on and no I hadn't missed anything, seems like the central character Charlotte just really likes stringing out a story.What I did love were the insightful moments of the friendship between Esme and Charlotte. They were written so clearly that I could imagine being there witnessing their early friendship. However, I never really got the feeling that I knew either of these girls. The "betrayal" seemed to be so out of character and made me feel even more that I just didn't get this character. Ultimately the betrayal and the request from Esme were soon sorted in a few pages - leaving us with an ending that seemed very limp compared to the rest of the fast pace in the book.I'm giving this book 3 out of 5 stars. Great writing, just not compelling or thrilling enough for me I'm sorry to say. My thanks go to Negalley for a free e copy of this book for review.

  • Kate
    2019-05-27 05:32

    Unfortunately my interest waned reading this book, especially when it weaved back and forth, whilst it was important that the author did this to introduce issues from the past, I found it tedious and felt tempted to skim parts. The description of this being "an exquisitely tuned psychological high-wire act" was unfortunately somewhat misleading. It verged on a biopic tale of one woman charting her friendship and relationships from university days to present. Her tempestuous relationship with an old friend that lead up to the 'betrayal' portrayed in this book felt lacking. I didn't really feel any connection to the characters, or feel that the 'betrayal' was in keeping with the characters being written about. The author seems to quickly deal with the issues of the toxic friendship and 'betrayal' in a matter of pages, this leaves the reader feeling almost 'short changed', the pace seems somewhat limp and the ending anticlimactic. The plot was not enough to hold my attention, I felt reading this was a chore, the characters were not engaging and I really felt no connection to them, the only good thing about this book was the writing itself.

  • Laurie Neighbors
    2019-05-31 10:19

    Update: In terms of my critique below, it got worse. But I finished it (skimming a few of the last scenes), so there must have been something keeping me in the story. Not the characters, not the plot -- so it must be the writing itself. ***I read most of this novel on the plane ride home from San Antonio to San Francisco. The saint-to-saint direct flight, about four hours. By "most" I mean that I'm done yet. I have another fifty pages or so. And I will read them, though I'm not particularly inspired to do so. The sleepy traveler in me liked the mindlessness of the novel, but the rest of me, which is about 90% of me, wonders about the nagging internalized patriarchy of the novel. I take it to be a weak attempt at addressing such, but all of the characters, male and female, exist at such stereotypical poles of their gender that I don't see how much can be accomplished here. Now I'm trying to remember how I even ended up buying this book a few days ago. Was it mentioned in The Argonauts? Did I win it in a giveaway?

  • Debbie Payne
    2019-05-23 11:34

    This book was given to me in a Goodread’s giveaway in exchange for an honest review.“As Good as Dead” was a wonderful read by an articulate writer. I read this book in a day. A great way to while away the morning on the Fourth of July.The relationships between characters were rich and fraught with secrets and complexities across 20 years of their lives. So many wonderful layers to explore. I am sure that many readers of this book will look back to earlier friendships and give pause to either good or bad situations. All of us can connect with mistakes we may have made in the past. They may not have been as interesting or as messy as Charlotte’s and Esme’s, but they are still part who we were then and who we are now.Ms. Evans delivers suspense, good story-telling and secrets unearthed along with coming to terms with past mistakes.The only story she didn’t “tie-up” was whether or not BadCat was finally allowed to live with Charlotte and Will.

  • Garryvivianne
    2019-05-19 11:16

    A writer is reunited with an old "best" friend from long ago. They were so close, they shared secrets, they knew each others lives pretty well. When Esme, who at one time was wildly popular & beautiful, shows up at Charlotte's door in Arizona, Charlotte is not quite sure what to think. Esme has changed, does not quite look the same, she is chunky, not quite as beautiful as she once was. They had lost touch for a long while, what could she want? To rekindle their friendship? Or something worse? Charlotte is somewhat frightened, unsure where this is headed. This brings up all the memories, all the secrets, their lives with their men & the big betrayal.

  • Denise
    2019-06-05 12:26

    Don't we all make mistakes? do they all come back to haunt us 20 years later? Even though the main character states her traits as being shy, reticent, and socially wanting, don't we all have those moments? Haven't even the most confident of us seen someone else that we would like to be like? Don't we all do things against our better judgment and out of character to fit in with someone else or some group? This book had me thinking of my choices in life and how wanting to "fit in" may have made me choose a path or action not necessarily part of my character. This book also gave me hope that my previous actions were not irredeemable.

  • Ann
    2019-05-22 11:31

    Charlotte and Will have been married for 20 years. They both teach at a university in Arizona and there life is about to change when Esme knocks on their door. Esme was once Charlotte's best friend and she is now trying to blackmail her. This story is well written, flipping back and forth between present day and the Iowa Writer's conference 20 years ago. I like Charlotte but found her a little weak in the 1st part of the book. I'm glad she developed into a strong woman who takes a bad situation and handles it.

  • Andrea MacPherson
    2019-05-29 05:08

    Oh, how I wanted to live this book. A writers workshop! Secrets! All thr makings of a literary page turner. But the stakes were never high enough for me, and the characters felt wooden. I had a very, very hard time believing some of the plot points, and the workshop references (including a few random paragraphs devoted to David Foster Wallace, for no reason) and setting felt unnecessary. This could have been a great novel, but it fell flat to me. I've heard that it was expanded from a short story, and I wonder if that was the core mistake.

  • Joanne
    2019-06-10 08:26

    I received As Good As Dead by Elizabeth Evans as a Goodreads First-reads giveaway winner. This is a book about friendship over time. It is also about relationships in general. I can't put my finger on why, but I had a very hard time getting into this story. For some reason I discovered halfway through the book that I didn't really care what happened to the characters. I did finish the book, but feel that I was not impacted in any way and looking ahead to what I will read next.