Last Chance Chicago – Diana DiGangi

On a backdrop of beach pebbles, an iPad with the cover of Last Chance Chicago by Diana DiGangi. At the bottom of the image, a blue strip of torn paper with a quote: "One of the best debut novels I've read." and a url: judeinthestars.com.

Once in a while, you read a book by a new author, not knowing what to expect, and it blows your mind. Last Chance Chicago is one of these books. And it’s a debut novel, which blows my mind even further. It’s also the kind of book about which I have a lot to say but will end up saying almost nothing because you have to experience it for yourself.

Samantha DiCiccio’s addiction to cocaine robbed her of everything: her job as a highflying attorney in Chicago, her friends, her marriage. She’s been sober for a year when her ex-wife, Amy Igarashi, is accused of insider trading and Sam is the only lawyer she can afford. Sam has never stopped loving Amy and the idea of letting anyone else defend her only crosses her mind for appearance’s sake.

The author is an investigative journalist and used her knowledge of the corporate world to write this intricate and exciting story. It’s as dark and edgy as the cover implies. I want to use the word gritty, even though it feels foreign to a world in which people earn hundreds of thousands of dollars and the human side of life doesn’t seem to matter much.

Speaking of which, I’m a very character-driven reader. If I don’t like the main characters, if I can’t find anything to relate to, chances are super high I won’t enjoy the book. I didn’t like Sam for a pretty long time and yet I fell into the story right from the start and only got out after I read the last line. Maybe not even then. I was enthralled and in no hurry to get back to my normal state. And I ended up loving both main characters. Who they are beneath the bling and the ambition is revealed in stages, DiGangi unveiling them gradually, letting them gain each other’s trust again as the story goes, as she writes about choices and consequences, about understanding what matters and allowing oneself to be misled, about the complexity of the soul, of being layered beings. And she does so with an unfailing sense of humour that brings welcome relief in a rather chilling story. I can’t wait to see what will come after this. 4.5⭐️

5-stars

Last Chance Chicago @ Bookshop.org / IndieBound / Kobo / Book Depository / Books-A-Million / amazon

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