While I didn’t like any of the characters in The Other Typist, I couldn’t put the book down. It reminded me of the obsessions, misplaced passions, betrayals and unreliable narrators of Gone Girl (Gillian Flynn) and The Silent Wife (A.S.A. Harrison).
In The Other Typist, Rose Baker is the narrator who is slightly off and not to be trusted with her rendition of the facts. Efficient and organized, she is proud of her well-honed typing skills and admits that she doesn’t “know much about the business of forgiveness” as her job deals with the other end of it. One of three typists at a Manhattan police station, Rose transcribes the confessions of criminals brought in for interrogation.
The arrival of the mysterious Odalie Lazare changes everything. According to Rose, everyone from her beloved Sergeant to the other typists fall under the spell of the beautiful young woman with the bobbed hair and stylish clothes. Before too long, Rose and Odalie become the best of friends and end up sharing an apartment. They spend their days at the police station and their evenings visiting speakeasies.
Throughout the narrative, Rose hints at chinks in Odalie’s armor and her own ambivalence: “There was something chilling in her voice as she pronounced this last statement. For a moment, I had a flash of myself as the man who decides to paint the floor of his house and somehow manages to paint himself into a corner.” Without revealing too many other details, suffice it to say that Rose did paint herself into an unexpected and unfortunate corner.
As author Suzanne Rindell guides us through the twists and turns of this unusual tale, we are left guessing right to the end. And even then…