Residents of a cooperative New York apartment building find their lives bizarrely entangled when a financial manager’s attempt to set a simple mistake right is made fodder for a huge public scandal.
The residents of a certain cooperative apartment building on Central Park South have their share of heartbreaks, secrets, and shared history. Wally is still grieving after his divorce from Hannah and the death of their daughter Alya. Hannah is being blackmailed by Wally’s boss into both an unwanted affair and cooperation on far more nefarious activity. John, a lawyer, has an unfortunate history of working for financial companies that collapse in scandalous fashion. His wife Susan wrestles with her frustrations over their marriage and with life in a wheelchair after a terrible skiing accident. Sheldon Vogel, an accountant, makes a fateful error managing a client’s investments, but falls into a coma from his injuries before he can mend matters- and what he says in a delirious state sparks a scandal that threatens to overturn multiple lives and reveal the co-op residents’ darkest secrets. Can this knot be untangled before it’s too late?
COOPERATIVE LIVES is an intricate and intriguing tale with a lot of plot twists and details hidden in plain sight, their importance to the story revealed one by one as the book progresses. Focus shifts from one point of view character to another, and back and forth in time as more secrets and backstory are exposed. Thankfully, the author kindly lets us know at the beginning of each chapter what time period that particular chapter is set in, which is helpful for keeping the story straight. The shift in character perspective lets us get to know each character from the inside, and also to see other characters through their eyes, which gives the story a multidimensional texture. The people in this story are well-drawn, each with their own fully-developed personality – and their individual personality quirks together drive the plot, demonstrating the author’s gift for truly elegant plot design. This is the sort of book that rewards, indeed perhaps requires, reading more than once in order to catch all the little details and plot points one may miss on a casual reading. It’s perhaps a bit slow to get started, but it’s all necessary setup, and once the dominos start falling, the pattern begins to reveal itself smoothly and inevitably.
COOPERATIVE LIVES is a complicated but beautifully engineered book, with its intertwined secrets, interacting lives, and the carefully-woven story that emerges from them.
~Catherine Langrehr for IndieReader