Beautiful Animals
On a hike during a white-hot summer break on the Greek island of Hydra, Naomi and Samantha make a startling discovery: a man named Faoud, sleeping heavily, exposed to the elements, but still alive. Naomi, the daughter of a wealthy British art collector who has owned a villa in the exclusive hills for decades, convinces Sam, a younger American woman on vacation with her family, to help this stranger. As the two women learn more about the man, a migrant from Syria and a casualty of the crisis raging across the Aegean sea, their own burgeoning friendship intensifies, and when a simple plan of revenge goes horrifically wrong, Faoud must go on the run while the women come to terms with the terrible consequences they have set in motion.

Beautiful Animals Details

TitleBeautiful Animals
Author
FormatHardcover
ReleaseJul 18th, 2017
PublisherHogarth Press
ISBN0553447378
ISBN-139780553447378
Number of pages304 pages
Rating
GenreFiction, Mystery, Thriller, Mystery Thriller, Literary Fiction, Contemporary

Beautiful Animals Review

  • Jill
    May 28, 2017
    The rich, they say, are just like you and me. The only difference is, they’re richer. Naomi Codrington puts that theory to the test in this sinister thriller by Lawrence Osborne. Naomi is visiting her father and wicked stepmother on the Greek Island of Hydra after being fired from her job at a British law firm. Amoral, narcissistic, resentful and ice cold – the female equivalent of Patricia Highsmith’s Mr. Ripley – Naomi happens across two malleable people: Samantha, a beautiful, emotionally und The rich, they say, are just like you and me. The only difference is, they’re richer. Naomi Codrington puts that theory to the test in this sinister thriller by Lawrence Osborne. Naomi is visiting her father and wicked stepmother on the Greek Island of Hydra after being fired from her job at a British law firm. Amoral, narcissistic, resentful and ice cold – the female equivalent of Patricia Highsmith’s Mr. Ripley – Naomi happens across two malleable people: Samantha, a beautiful, emotionally undeveloped America, and eventually, Faoud, a young Syrian migrant who appears to have escaped at great risk from the chaos.Naomi diabolically engineers a plot, seemingly to equalize the disparity between the wealthy American and Brit and the impoverished Syrian. But it goes horribly awry and many people are affected. To go further into the plot would deprive readers of the joy of discovery. So I’ll just say this: Beautiful Animals is not a typical “hang on to the seat of your pants” thriller; rather, it is a fascinating psychological study of Naomi and her influence on those around her. Naomi’s ability to “step quietly from one life into another” is an insightful look about how a sociopathic mind works and how regret is not a useful emotion for those without empathy.Do not go into this book thinking it is a typical story arc – a deed is done, the bad ones are punished, the good triumph. Rather, think of it as a meticulous study of manipulation and how sometimes, events can be fleeting and enigmatic.
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  • Roman Clodia
    July 7, 2017
    What beautiful animals we are, Sam thought, beautiful as panthersA short book, but definitely not sweet, this seems to be channeling The Talented Mr. Ripley (I've only seen the film) only here the amoral plotters are two young women. It's easy to bandy around labels like 'sociopath' but Sam and Naomi are perhaps not quite so easily pigeon-holed, and the shifting and enigmatic relationship between them is perhaps the best thing about the book. Osborne certainly captures a kind of noir atmosphere What beautiful animals we are, Sam thought, beautiful as panthersA short book, but definitely not sweet, this seems to be channeling The Talented Mr. Ripley (I've only seen the film) only here the amoral plotters are two young women. It's easy to bandy around labels like 'sociopath' but Sam and Naomi are perhaps not quite so easily pigeon-holed, and the shifting and enigmatic relationship between them is perhaps the best thing about the book. Osborne certainly captures a kind of noir atmosphere despite most of the plot playing out in the heat of a Greek island, but there's an unevenness in his writing which sometimes got in the way of my enjoyment. There are odd instances, for example, of suddenly falling into indirect reported speech rather than dramatising conversations ('Sam said, without lying, that it was the best marmalade she had ever tasted. Naomi said they could smoke a little too'); but there are also moments of sharpness: 'There is the spinning top and there is the girl who whips it into motion but the two are merged in the same motion' (again, that repetition of motion feels clumsy).Overall, this is the kind of book that has most impact when read in one sitting (it's only a few hours) and, preferably, in the sun - good if you like summer reading with some edge. Thanks to Random House for an ARC via NetGalley.
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  • Jane
    May 27, 2017
    What a journey!! One of the best thrillers I've read in a long time! On the Greek island of Hydra, two young women become friends. The British anti-heroine, the amoral Naomi, leads by the nose her new American friend Samantha, a follower, although sometimes unwilling. The two girls find a young Arab man, Faoud, on the beach, and in cahoots with him and the Greek maid from Naomi's household plot a revenge against Naomi's parents--father and stepmother--whom Naomi hates. Supposedly simple and stra What a journey!! One of the best thrillers I've read in a long time! On the Greek island of Hydra, two young women become friends. The British anti-heroine, the amoral Naomi, leads by the nose her new American friend Samantha, a follower, although sometimes unwilling. The two girls find a young Arab man, Faoud, on the beach, and in cahoots with him and the Greek maid from Naomi's household plot a revenge against Naomi's parents--father and stepmother--whom Naomi hates. Supposedly simple and straightforward with no intention of hurting anyone, the plot goes badly awry. All participants must bear consequences they had never dreamed of.Well written and paced. I couldn't NOT finish the story, but I was a little disappointed at the ending.Highly recommended. I thank LibraryThing for sending me an ARC in exchange for my honest review.
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  • Marjorie
    June 9, 2017
    There are two “beautiful animals” in this book. One is Naomi, a young woman who is spoiled and rich and bored. She’s staying on a Greek island with her father and step-mother, neither of whom does she get along with. Sam is a naïve young woman who is vacationing with her parents. The two become friends. When they find a young man named Faoud hiding on the island, they believe him to be an Arab refugee. Naomi wants to help him and Sam is pulled unwillingly into Naomi’s plans. Naomi figures that m There are two “beautiful animals” in this book. One is Naomi, a young woman who is spoiled and rich and bored. She’s staying on a Greek island with her father and step-mother, neither of whom does she get along with. Sam is a naïve young woman who is vacationing with her parents. The two become friends. When they find a young man named Faoud hiding on the island, they believe him to be an Arab refugee. Naomi wants to help him and Sam is pulled unwillingly into Naomi’s plans. Naomi figures that money is what Faoud needs to make a new life for himself so she comes up with the plan to enable Faoud to rob her parents’ home.I love the writing style of this author. I usually am a fast reader but when I’m reading one of Mr. Osborne’s books, his writing compels me to slow down and read every word. He has a beautiful way with words and pulls me into his stories as if I, too, were vacationing on this Greek Island and knew these people personally. This book is many layered, not only the suspenseful plot but also the dynamics between the characters and their families. This is a morally dark, disturbing tale and one that I became completely engrossed in.Highly recommended.This book was given to me by the publisher in return for an honest review.
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  • Caroline
    June 18, 2017
    ***NO SPOILERS***(Full disclosure: book abandoned on page 57, at chapter 5.)Osborne didn’t write this engagingly enough to make me want to stick around to find out how the mystery plays out. I stopped at the point where two women stumble upon an injured man lying on a beach, rather ironic considering that sounds exciting and like a major turning point. A big problem with Beautiful Animals is that it’s overwritten. Osborne loved writing description--paragraphs upon paragraphs of it--and even open ***NO SPOILERS***(Full disclosure: book abandoned on page 57, at chapter 5.)Osborne didn’t write this engagingly enough to make me want to stick around to find out how the mystery plays out. I stopped at the point where two women stumble upon an injured man lying on a beach, rather ironic considering that sounds exciting and like a major turning point. A big problem with Beautiful Animals is that it’s overwritten. Osborne loved writing description--paragraphs upon paragraphs of it--and even opened the story this way, something I always consider a flaw. To get to the heart of the story, which is the mystery, I first had to wade through his overwrought muck. No story is worth that. The dialogue he wrote to break up this muck is limp, and spoken among bland, indefinable characters. It's all so dull. My understanding is that Beautiful Animals is a psychological character study, so it’s more a quiet mystery, not a grab-you-by-the-throat mystery-thriller. That’s all well and good--character studies, when done well, can be powerful--but a little grabbing by the throat could have helped this.Note: I received this as an Advanced Reader Copy from the publisher in June 2017.
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  • Craig Buck
    May 4, 2017
    I saw the movie based on this book and was rapt. One of the best films I saw last year. So I picked up the novel, seeing as how they're usually better than the films. Even though the film was a pretty literal adaptation, and I already knew the story, I still found this book gripping and superbly written. I highly recommend for those who like a noir tale, but beware that this work treads into extremely dark shadows.
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  • Mary Lins
    June 11, 2017
    "Beautiful Animals", by Lawrence Osborne, is a psychological study of a master manipulator, Naomi Codrington, and the consequences of her manipulative reach. The novel also provides beautifully written - almost poetic - descriptions of the Greek Islands. I suspect it's not a coincidence that this novel comes out during summer vacation season!Naomi is a beautiful, rich, and privileged Englishwoman in her early 20s. She's recently been fired from her job in a law firm (Big Red Flag Here). Vacation "Beautiful Animals", by Lawrence Osborne, is a psychological study of a master manipulator, Naomi Codrington, and the consequences of her manipulative reach. The novel also provides beautifully written - almost poetic - descriptions of the Greek Islands. I suspect it's not a coincidence that this novel comes out during summer vacation season!Naomi is a beautiful, rich, and privileged Englishwoman in her early 20s. She's recently been fired from her job in a law firm (Big Red Flag Here). Vacationing with her father and "evil stepmother" on the Greek island called Hydra, Naomi meets a younger American woman, Samantha (Sam), who is also vacationing there with her family. Sam becomes her acolyte as they explore the island, swimming, drinking, and smoking pot.Both Sam and Naomi are self-centered, arrogant, and immature; neither are likable or relate-able, which makes the duo fascinating. They almost literally stumble upon a Syrian refuge named Faoud, and Naomi concocts a outrageous plan to help him get to mainland Europe, complete with ridiculous rationalizations to justify her actions. Here is where I had trouble with the plot; I just couldn't believe that anyone would be stupid enough to go along with her "master plan". But I pushed that aside and let Osborne take me on the ride he's set in motion; at times the novel is a thriller as much as a character study of amoral people claiming moral high-ground. This is a "beach read" with a kick!
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  • Nina
    June 5, 2017
    I won this book from GoodReads. This book arrived on Friday evening, I finished it on Monday morning. I have mixed feelings about this book. I enjoyed reading it in that the descriptive language was interesting. I had trouble identifying with any of the characters. It seems as if each of the characters are somewhat ambivalent and removed from their own stories. I also feel there were too many loose ends. I was wondering if the maid had killed Phaine, since Foaud only felt pseudo-guilt for his ac I won this book from GoodReads. This book arrived on Friday evening, I finished it on Monday morning. I have mixed feelings about this book. I enjoyed reading it in that the descriptive language was interesting. I had trouble identifying with any of the characters. It seems as if each of the characters are somewhat ambivalent and removed from their own stories. I also feel there were too many loose ends. I was wondering if the maid had killed Phaine, since Foaud only felt pseudo-guilt for his actions toward Jimmie. Did I miss something about Phaine's death? It is clear that Naomi is a bored sociopath with a past. She manipulates people and situations for her own entertainment, just as a puppeteer would make her puppets dance. The book also went on too long. Some of the chapters seemed pointless to the story. This is an advanced reader's version, so I imagine the finished product will pull things together a little better. I liked the book, but it did not knock my socks off.
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  • Diane
    July 4, 2017
    A powerful dark thriller.Two young girls meet on the Greek island of Hydra- Naomi, British, rich, spoiled and bored is vacationing with her father and step-mother. Samantha is a naive, gullible girl and the two meet for daily beach exploration. One day they come upon a wounded, hungry man on the beach. He's an immigrant from Syria named Faoud who is desperate for help.One day Naomi comes up with a scheme to get back at her wealthy parents involving Faoud but, her plans go terribly wrong.A well w A powerful dark thriller.Two young girls meet on the Greek island of Hydra- Naomi, British, rich, spoiled and bored is vacationing with her father and step-mother. Samantha is a naive, gullible girl and the two meet for daily beach exploration. One day they come upon a wounded, hungry man on the beach. He's an immigrant from Syria named Faoud who is desperate for help.One day Naomi comes up with a scheme to get back at her wealthy parents involving Faoud but, her plans go terribly wrong.A well written story that delves deep into the mind of a sociopath. A disturbing story but so well written.
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  • Diane
    July 14, 2017
    A powerful dark thriller.Two young girls meet on the Greek island of Hydra- Naomi, British, rich, spoiled and bored is vacationing with her father and step-mother. Samantha is a naive, gullible girl and the two meet for daily beach exploration. One day they come upon a wounded, hungry man on the beach. He's an immigrant from Syria named Faoud who is desperate for help.One day Naomi comes up with a scheme to get back at her wealthy parents involving Faoud but, her plans go terribly wrong.A well w A powerful dark thriller.Two young girls meet on the Greek island of Hydra- Naomi, British, rich, spoiled and bored is vacationing with her father and step-mother. Samantha is a naive, gullible girl and the two meet for daily beach exploration. One day they come upon a wounded, hungry man on the beach. He's an immigrant from Syria named Faoud who is desperate for help.One day Naomi comes up with a scheme to get back at her wealthy parents involving Faoud but, her plans go terribly wrong.A well written story that delves deep into the mind of a sociopath. A disturbing story but so well written.
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  • Jorgen
    June 17, 2017
    I did not like the way this book started, and almost gave up after about 100 pages. The descriptions and words the author used were too flowery and inappropriate; it seemed as if he wanted to use unusual words to impress the reader. The story line finally got somewhat interesting when "the incident" happened, and I was able to finish it, raising my opinion from 2 to 3 stars. (This was an early review book and hopefully an editor will correct the numerous grammatical errors).
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  • Mary Allen
    June 26, 2017
    I won this book on Goodreads. I had trouble getting into the book. The first part somewhere in 75- 100 pages about lost me it bounced back , I finished the book and it is decent book. I just could not connect
  • Penny
    July 5, 2017
    A decent holiday read, well written and diverting but that's about all.
  • Amber Glidden
    June 21, 2017
    Beautifully written with seamless transitions and intriguing look into human (animal?) nature. A sneak listen to the audiobook entices the ear!
  • John Lafferty
    July 25, 2017
    Inane. Could not finish.
  • Mark
    May 3, 2017
    A really gripping and fun read. Finally a character (and author) to give Patricia Highsmith and Tom Ripley a run for the money.
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