Nice by Jen Sacks tells the story of the romance between two serial killers named Grace and Sam. Sam kills professionally. Grace does it to avoid confrontations. Together they find the balance between being unsympathetic towards human emotions and possessing some themselves. Their love story is fascinating, dangerous and enlightening.
Nice starts off quite comic. It keeps this light tone throughout the novel, despite the serious subject matter. However, Nice has lots of depth and insight into the human psyche. In particular the fear of being vulnerable in love. One of the serious issues discussed in Nice is women’s rights in terms of facing misogynist behavior from men. Because it is against social norms for women to aggressively fight back against unwanted sexual advances (usually verbally) from men, they are suppressed into passively taking it. Though the novel at the surface is a love story between two serial killers, one of the underling messages is about taking control of life and not seeking easy solutions to major problems.
Once Nice reaches its peak of Sam and Grace meeting, the pace of the novel slows. It conforms to a more traditional tale of boy meets girl. Instead of its original sleuth/mystery/thriller style. Despite the novel’s mood shift, Grace and Sam’s love story is realistic and romantic enough to keep readers interested. Nevertheless, during the second half of Nice, the story does deteriorate some. However there is enough intrigue with the will-they-won’t they kill each other to keep some of the thriller aspects to it. By the conclusion of Nice, it becomes pretty predictable, which kills some of the quality of the book. A more surprising ending could have heightened the appeal of the story.
To conclude, Nice’s underlining messages are intriguing, but the novel’s transition from thriller to boy meets girl tale downgrades the interesting aspects of the book. It’s worth a one time read, but not a book that readers will repeatedly visit.