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An Italian villa, the Mafia, and a stolen identity.

Mad by Chloe Esposito
Pub. Date: June 13, 2017
Source: ARC via publisher (Thank you, Dutton!)
Summary: In this compulsively readable debut, set between London and Sicily over one blood-drenched week in the dead of summer, an identical twin reveals the crazy lies and twists she’ll go through to not only steal her sister’s perfect life, but to keep on living it.
Genre: Contemporary, Beach Read

As children, Alvie and her twin sister Elizabeth were practically inseparable. Though it was clear from the start Beth was their mother’s favorite (she got a fancy helmet while Alvie got a trip to the hospital after crashing their scooter when they were 8, in a school Christmas play Beth had the coveted role of Mary…while Alvie was the back end of a donkey), the sisters nevertheless stuck together. As they grew older, however, it quickly became apparent that Beth was born to shine, whereas Alvie developed a taste for arson and shoplifting.

Two years after Beth’s fabulously over-the-top wedding to a ridiculously wealthy Italian, they still have yet to speak to one another. That is, until Beth begins e-mailing Alvie, begging her to come for a visit. As Alvie has just been fired from her dead-end job (and kicked out of her awful apartment – all in the same day), she really has no reason not to leave London. What awaits her in Italy, however, is unlike anything she had ever imagined.

Mad is the first in Esposito’s Mad, Bad, and Dangerous to Know Trilogy and was, well, totally bonkers. Seriously. Alvie and Beth swap identities (initially Alvie is okay with it – Beth has a closet bursting with designer labels and a personal hairdresser on speed dial). Little does Alvie know the real reason Beth wanted to switch places. That hunky millionaire husband of hers? He not only has ties to the mafia, but he’s in deep with a lost Caravaggio. He just needs to close the deal and he’ll be a few million dollars richer – naturally it would go for triple the amount at auction, but, hey, it’s on the FBI’s watch list after being stolen a couple of decades earlier. Beggars can’t be choosers.

Beth wants out of that life, but in order to make a new start with her baby, she needs Alvie. Unfortunately for Alvie, she doesn’t realize that she’s meant to die. Whoops. With each chapter the body count grows – the mafia doesn’t play around, folks.

Though it’s not entirely believable, Mad is surprisingly fun. It’s an extremely quick, totally easy-breezy read that’s absolutely perfect for an afternoon spent lounging by a pool. Alvie is definitely not a likable character (and I could have done without all of the sex scenes – at one point, Alvie mentions that in the past few years she’s sleep with over 300 men), but Mad read like a cheesy made-for-tv movie and I am all about that life. While this book won’t be making any Top Ten lists, it was highly entertaining and I’m actually looking forward to the next!

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