November 11, 2021

Louis Greenberg: "Exposure" (ARC Review)

Title: Exposure [on Amazon | on Goodreads]
Series: None
Author: Louis Greenberg [Site | Goodreads]
Genres: Thriller/Mystery, Afterlife
Year: 2021
Age: 14+ (I shelved it as Adult because of the characters' age, but it can be read by teens)
Stars: 4/5
Pros: Original and haunting. Exquisitely written.
Cons: Instalove premise. The story takes a different turn than one anticipates, and albeit smart and poignant, it ultimately doesn't do the main character justice.
Will appeal to: Those who like mind games, spiritually wounded/doomed characters with a bit of a saviour complex, and an eerie quality in their books.

Blurb: In a Britain akin to this one, Vincent Rice falls off a ladder, literally at Petra Orff’s feet. They introduce themselves, and immigrant Petra senses a kindred spirit in Vincent’s complex sense of home. He offers to take her to Metamuse, an alternative theatre experience like no other that he won tickets to in a competition he doesn’t remember entering. The first show leaves them besotted with each other; the second is far more disturbing. Inexplicable occurrences pile on top of one another, all connected to the mysterious Metamuse. Only Petra can see the web of sinister coincidences surrounding them both and, with injustices both past and present weighing on her mind, she begins to wonder if Metamuse is more than just a show… (Amazon)

Review: First off...DISCLAIMER: I requested this title on NetGalley. Thanks to Titan Books for providing a temporary ecopy. This didn't influence my review in any way.


While deciding to request/buy a book - any book - is always a shot in the dark, even when there are reviews or excerpts available (which was not the case here), I have to admit I took a wilder chance than my average when picking this one. The blurb was pretty straightforward in hinting at an instant connection between the main character and a mysterious "falling man", and I usually try to stay away from books where the romantic plot is a main ingredient, especially when instalove is involved...but this one sounded really up my alley, especially since the Goodreads blurb (slightly different from the NetGalley/Amazon one) had a line about "Unquiet dead [who] seem to be reaching into the world to protest injustices both past and present". Now THAT got my attention - along with the ominous Metamuse of course.
Now I'm really glad I decided to request Exposure, because I ultimately got a spooky, disquieting, overall unique story where the romance - if integral to it - went hand in hand with themes such as family, social identity (Petra is a half South-African, half English immigrant; Vincent - while UK born and bred - is of Malawian descent), one-of-a-kind psychological manipulation, and of course death (and/or un-death). I wasn't familiar with immersive theatre or "autoteatro", but I loved how it was incorporated into the plot (both via Petra's experiences and journalist Rose's first-hand reports), and I enjoyed the spine-chilling twist Greenberg managed to put on it. I also found the writing exquisite without being flowery, and the characterisation and sense of place pretty strong. [...]


I love it when a book takes a different route than the one it seems to have established...which is precisely why I'm a little conflicted here. There's a shift in the characters' dynamics that I didn't see coming (I can't say more in order not to give the ultimate twist away), and I enjoyed having the rug pulled from under my feet; also, said shift fits them in a way, and it's consistent with the allure of the mysterious Metamuse (and its agenda). On the other hand, I'm always sad when a female character is robbed of her agency/has it derailed - especially if it happens in the context/on the backdrop of a romantic relationship - or when I have great expectations for her that the plot doesn't meet. I realise now that Exposure is not a story about heroes - whether male or female - and that, regardless, it does celebrate the (literally) supernatural strength of women in a peculiar way; but even then, that strength is largely fueled by passion/romantic attachment. Exposure, though, is also - and foremost - a story about people who feel out of place and wronged by history, pushed back at the end of the food chain, people who either own their vengeance or are consumed by it. So, infatuation is only one side of the coin when it comes to its influence on the characters' actions.
I'm aware that this one might be my most obscure review ever, because there's only so much I can say without giving the whole plot away, and I feel like I've already exceeded my mild-spoiler quota. What I CAN say, anyhow, is that, at its core, Exposure is a haunting story about the lengths you're willing to go in order to right a wrong, and the (often subliminal) forces that may propel you to take that route - something that, alas, never gets old, especially in times like these.

For more Adult books click here.
For more Thriller/Mystery books click here.
For more Afterlife books click here.


  1. I am shocked you were duped into reading a book with some romance, though, 4 out of 5 shows you mostly enjoyed it. That's a good thing.

    1. Haha! The premise sounded too juicy to pass it up. And I was promised a dark book after all 😉.

  2. I love a twist so big that I didn't see coming that makes me feel like that.

  3. Hmm this definitely sounds intriguing. "Exposure is a haunting story about the lengths you're willing to go in order to right a wrong," That right there is enough to interest me!

    The idea of spooky theater too...

    1. It's a slow-build in that respect, but it does pay off. And the creepy theater is really interesting!

  4. I've seen this book around but I didn't really know what it was about. I think it sounds like something I'd enjoy, even though I'm not a big insta love fan either:-) Thanks for sharing!

    1. If I could stomach the instalove here, everyone would! LOL.

  5. Oh that's true, you do tend to avoid romance, so it is surprising that you picked this one up. But sometimes taking a chance is worth it! I'd never heard of autoteatro either. Still not sure I get it after reading the link, but sounds interesting. Also sounds like an intriguing book!

    1. "Autoteatro" in a nutshell is, you're part of the performance (though guided somehow). It's used in a creepy way and makes for an equally creepy twist here!


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