Tangerine by Christine Mangan

Just one glance at the cover of Tangerine by Christine Mangan when it was a “to be published” and I was hooked!  Do you ever see covers and know you just have to read the book?  Coupled with the fact that this is a debut novel, I had to get my hands on Tangerine as soon as it was published.

Tangerine is a kind of “Catch Me If You Can” novel that opens with a man being pulled from the sea near Tangier.  It will take much of the book to figure out who he is, who killed him, and why he was murdered.  Get ready for a tantalizing mystery…

Our narrators are Lucy and Alice, college roommates who graduated from Bennington College in Vermont in 1955.  The two bonded as freshman, connected by their respective losses of parents.  They grew very close at Bennington, but something happened that last year to tear them apart.  Now, in 1956, and the two estranged friends are reunited in Morocco where Alice lives with her new husband John, a wealthy man who seems to adore her and at the same time control her in a less than savory manner.  Lucy tries to rekindle her friendship with Alice, attempting to right past wrongs.  If you have an inkling that Lucy’s motives are not completely redemptive, you are not alone.  I did too.  Alice is somewhat receptive to Lucy.  She has not quite acclimated to her new Moroccan life, both finding her way as a wife and struggling with the heat and hustle of the city.  Both factors make her a near recluse.

With chapters alternating between Alice and Lucy, and delving into both their past and the current murder mystery at hand, readers who enjoy a good thriller will be entranced.