This is one of those very rare occasions where I can honestly say that the television series is better than the book. Not that the book isn’t good; it is. It’s just not as juicy, edgy, over-the-top as the series is. I don’t know if it was because I watched the first 2 episodes of the series before reading the book, but I figured out one of the big mysteries quite early.
Moriarty did do a good job of misleading the reader as to who the murdered and murderer where–didn’t see that one coming. She also did some interesting character development; the 4 main characters, Madeline, Celeste, Jane, and Renata each came off as approachable and likeable while simultaneously being bitchy and manipulative (okay, maybe not Jane). There are several parallel themes; most predominately helicopter parenting, gossip and how it is often misconstrued, and obsessiveness. The themes overlap and intertwine over and among themselves creating a twisting, at times rollicking tale of small town-ness. If you were brought up in one, you will know what I’m talking about.
I may read more of Moriarty; her writing is more of the “beach-read” variety.