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For fans of the high-stakes tension of the New York Times best sellers Luckiest Girl Alive and The Lying Game, comes “a brilliantly paced thriller that gets under your skin in the best possible way” (Megan Collins, author of The Winter Sister) about female ambition and what happens when fake violence draws real blood.

After years of struggling in the Chicago theater scene, ambitious actress Kira Rascher finally lands the role of a lifetime. The catch? The mercurial Malcolm Mercer is the director, and he’s known for pushing his performers past their limits - on stage and off.

Kira’s convinced she can handle Malcolm, but the theater’s cofounder, Joanna Cuyler, is another story. Joanna sees Kira as a threat - to her own thwarted artistic ambitions, her twisted relationship with Malcolm, and the shocking secret she’s keeping about the upcoming production. But as opening night draws near, Kira and Joanna both come to the realization that Malcolm’s dangerous extremes are nothing compared to what they're capable of themselves.

An edgy, addictive, and fiendishly clever tale of ambition, deceit, and power suited for fans of the film Black Swan, Temper “revels in its mind games, delivering twist after twist as it races toward a Shakespearian climax. The final page will leave you gasping” (Amy Gentry, author of Last Woman Standing). 

©2019 Layne Fargo (P)2019 Simon & Schuster Audio
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  • Global
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Interprétation
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Histoire
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Reviewer
  • 11/08/2019

Mind Games, Manipulation, Dark and Sexy

TEMPER is a dark and sexy ride, its characters’ passion and rage snowballing in equal measure as the story builds to its shocking conclusion. This is the Black Swan psychological suspense novel we’ve all been waiting for. Wonderful narration--really brought these characters to life.

When Kira takes the starring role in Temper, she knows she'll be working closely with Malcolm, a director and actor known to enjoy manipulating people, driving them past their absolute limits both on stage and off. With an overtly sensual, bold character like Kira, you might expect a tumultuous affair as the primary storyline. What you get is a dark psychological ride with sexy, dangerous characters in a constant power struggle. It's as hot as it is disturbing, with Kira's reality blurring with the play that threatens to consume her.

Joanna is another compelling character, and I felt Fargo was contrasting these two disparate, sharp-edged, and vulnerable women against each other with great intentionality, asking questions about femininity that the reader mulls over throughout the story.

By the end, I found myself wondering if Malcolm had engineered the whole thing.

2 personnes ont trouvé cela utile

  • Global
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Interprétation
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Histoire
    5 out of 5 stars
Image de profile pour Jack B. Rochester
  • Jack B. Rochester
  • 09/02/2020

Shakespeare would have loved this

I listened to this Audible version of Layne Fargo’s debut novel, Temper, and it was a one hundred percent thrill-ride. The story revolves around a stage play, which proved to be an excellent plot setting not only for the action but for revealing the characters’ innermost selves.

Drama and film probably top the other arts in attracting or creating egotists. Fargo balances the ego-driven characters with several who are passive-aggressive, a personality trait equally as insidious. This is a story of full-fledged knives out and sharpened by all the main characters, each in their relentless and self-absorbed drive to get what they want: artistic recognition and sex, sex, sex.

This is one of the most forthrightly erotic novels I can recall since reading Scott Spencer’s Endless Love many years ago. Although many novels attempt to portray sex, few do so in an erotic way; it’s all too often either more biological or animalistic that sexy. (Movies too.) Rarely in a human, needful, way. Fargo does.

There are two stories, one of Kira, a struggling actor, the other Joanna, assistant to Malcolm, the director and third lead character. (A menage a trois??) Kira is aggressively sexual and frank about her desires; Joanna is utterly repressed, longing for Mal in a major case of unrequited desire. Their first-person narratives unfold an alternating chapter at a time, masterfully accomplished by the author.

Adding a certain chaos to everything, many of these people are not exclusively heterosexual. We begin to see the complexity of actors who live to portray fictional people, acting in and out of character on a live stage.

I’ve no doubt this is a great read, but it was also a great listen. The two female leads were played by two accomplished, convincing voice actors, Jayme Mattler (as Kira?) and Hillary Huber (as Joanna?) (there must be a source to learn who did which, but I couldn’t find it). In any event, both were utterly in character and convincing in their roles.

I find it interesting that listening to a good novel draws me into the story in ways reading does not: I scowl, I growl, I sigh, I laugh, I cry. For me, it’s not right for every work, but it has added a dimension to my literary experiences nonetheless. And it makes me all the more committed to—and excited about—hearing my own novels produced in Audible versions.

I eagerly look forward to Layne Fargo's next novel, due out in October 2020.

  • Global
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Interprétation
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Histoire
    1 out of 5 stars
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  • barrington
  • 07/07/2019


The story somewhat kept my interest but just seemed so pretentious. The ending was predictable.

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