I Eat Men Like Air

Fiction - Literary
Kindle Edition
Reviewed on 10/01/2019
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite

I Eat Men Like Air is a dramatic, ensemble cast murder mystery novel penned by author Alice Berman. Sharply modern and intense in its interpersonal relationships, the story follows seven twenty-somethings on a disastrous path that leads one of them to a gruesome death. Unpicking the mystery is Tyler, a podcast reporter with a keen mind and a strong stomach, who weaves his way into the lives of the remaining friends to try to find out what led to the death of Alex, the billionaire’s son. The novel tells the events in two timelines before and after Alex’s death, as we gradually learn the reasons why his high-flying friends might have wanted him dead for many, many years now.

Fans of the new intense dramas on Netflix, like 13 Reasons Why, are certain to enjoy getting their teeth into this dark, social and psychological work of intrigue by author Alice Berman. Set perfectly in the Me Too era with its own questions to ask and answer about rape culture and the nature of secrecy, this is an incredibly well-constructed plot which brings different strands together in startling and inventive ways. Even though we already know the conclusion of Alex’s death, the secrets and surprises keep on coming. Berman’s character work is also excellent, with a narrative style that allows us deep into their heads to draw our own conclusions, sitting on Tyler’s shoulder to work out the crimes and conspiracies along with him. I Eat Men Like Air is a highly recommended read for fans of dramatic mystery.

Viga Boland

I Eat Men Like Air by Alice Berman is one of the most emotionally intense books I have ever read...emotionally intense not just for the seven millennials who tell this story, but for readers as they recognize themselves in the characters. Now, that’s not to say all readers will identify with the lavish lifestyles and backgrounds that most members of this wealthy group were born into, but many will come away sharing that vague sense of despair voiced by Peggy Lee in the 1969 song, “Is that all there is?” Perhaps that despair is what causes the handsome, spoiled, fun-seeking womanizer Alex to commit suicide at the height of wedding-related festivities. He’s the young man who has everything and doesn’t even have to work for it. But nothing, not drugs, booze or women give him lasting satisfaction. His polar opposite is Rob who wants what Alex has, but even more, wants to “fit in” but never does. Then there are the females: Lulu, a powerful “influencer” with tons of followers; Maxie, who believed, as so many women do, that finding a husband means you’ve made it, and Yael, a young doctor, who unlike all the other girls in this group, isn’t stick-thin. Those hip to social media, podcasts, influencers, and selfies will recognize what matters to so many members in this colorful cast of characters, brought together by wedding-related activities for Jessica and Will.

But while there is a suicide...or is it murder...at the center of the plot, it isn’t the action that drives this story. As it should be in literary fiction, it’s character. Those readers who love digging deep into human nature, past and present motivations and what makes each of us unique will be thoroughly immersed in each person’s individual story and from there, the interplay between the characters. The psychology is riveting and Alice Berman skillfully navigates her way through each character’s mind, constantly alternating between narrators. The alternating narrators and the dual timeline slipping forward and backward may disconcert some readers, but Berman keeps us hanging on till the very end to see how all the pieces fit as she explores important topics like career and financial pressures, honor, and loyalty amongst friends, misogynism and the long term effects of rape. I could say more about I Eat Men Like Air but I’ll leave you only with these last words: read it!

Rabia Tanveer

I Eat Men Like Air by Alice Berman is the story of a well-known podcast reporter who is trying to crack a case that is more convoluted than the most difficult of hedge mazes. A twisted web of lies and high society go hand in hand, which is the reason why Tyler knows that he needs to get deeper into the mystery of Alex Sable who died a horribly dramatic death. He was the son of a rich billionaire hedge-fund scion so it makes no sense for him to be found dead in such circumstances. Alex’s past and his connection with his six friends has something to do with his death and Tyler will do whatever it takes to uncover the secrets and find out why this healthy young man died. Looking past the glitz and glamour of high society is proving harder than he expected, but all he needs is one break. Can Tyler find out who is telling the truth and who isn’t? Can he even trust what these high society brats are saying?

The moment I started reading this novel, I knew that I wouldn’t be able to put it down. What started as a couple of chapters before bed turned out to be a nonstop marathon of chapter after chapter because it was too thrilling to put it down. The mystery behind Alex’s murder, the execution of the story, the absolute gem of narration and the impressive character development all were the high points of this novel. It is so much more than your typical whodunit story. There are so many characters that I thought I would be overwhelmed, but each character added something new and added more layers to the story. This is an absolute gem! To say that I am a fan of the author is an understatement!

Lisa McCombs

It is supposed to be a joyous occasion of reunion. A wedding always is. But when groomsman Alex Sable is found bloated in the bath, dead of an apparent suicide, the mood switches from celebration to suspicion. The fact that Alex wasn’t easily liked was not a secret. Alex was the difficult result of wealthy indulgence and social snobbery, but his presence was tolerated in keeping an even keel for his public face. Even his dangerous reputation as a violent man did not necessarily merit his murder. Or did it? As Jessica and Will re-evaluate their wedding plans, Maxie makes a decision about her own marriage, and as Adam blunders his unwanted presence into the lives of Lulu, Victoria, and Ronnie, newcomer Tyler looks for clues to include in his podcast for Crime and Questions.

I Eat Men Like Air by Alice Berman is a welcome surprise for readers, written much in the style of a Fitzgerald saga. Alice Berman’s command of vivid imagery and subtle humor make this an absolute page-turner while waxing poetic with such lines as: "You always expected nights like this to be better, to be special and meaningful, to be worth the purchase of the dress and the price of the professional makeup artist, but those were the nights that invariably ended with a billionaire’s son, high off his face, trying to pull a steak knife out of a tree.” I am obsessed with the prose evident in this story. This crazy whodunit will keep the reader guessing and re-guessing until the last page.

Romuald Dzemo

I Eat Men Like Air by Alice Berman is a mesmerizing story, a gripping blend of mystery and murder that will have an irresistible appeal to fans of sleuth novels. There is an upcoming wedding and seven friends in their late twenties gather at the New Hampshire mansion to celebrate with much debauchery. Will and Jessica's wedding brings together a cast of characters, experts in their fields — an ER doctor from Ohio, a Wall Street trader, a lawyer, and many others, including Alex Sable, a free-spirited guy who enjoys his share of pleasures. Alex happens to be the only witness in a serial rape case against his classmate fifteen years ago. But when his body is found in a bathtub filled with blood in the same house, Tyler, a reputable reporter is faced with a complicated case to crack. But can he make a breakthrough as he follows the events leading up to the wedding?

Alice Berman is deft in the plotting of this page-turner, creating focused scenes and situations that are emotionally rich. The characters are drawn from different walks of life, each strong in their unique skills and well-defined characteristics. Alex is a man torn inside by chagrin and I wanted to see how this deeply flawed character would evolve in the story. I Eat Men like Air caught my attention first because of the title, then I got hooked by the rich tapestry of colorful characters, the cunning plot, and the suspense. The prose is excellent and the narrative voice has a strong grip on the reader.

Maria Alma

I Eat Men Like Air was a story of a friend group and a rapist within the friend group. The plot was okay but the storyline was long and distasteful. Not much excitement going on.