Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Best Bad Things” as Want to Read:
Blank 133x176
The Best Bad Things
 
by
Katrina Carrasco
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Best Bad Things

by
3.37  ·  Rating details ·  493 ratings  ·  152 reviews
“A brazen, brawny, sexy standout of a historical thrill ride, The Best Bad Things is full of unforgettable characters and insatiable appetites. I was riveted. Painstakingly researched and pulsing with adrenaline, Carrasco’s debut will leave you thirsty for more.” —Lyndsay Faye, author of The Gods of Gotham

A vivid, sexy barn burner of a historical crime novel, The Best Bad
...more
ebook, 400 pages
Published November 6th 2018 by MCD
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Best Bad Things, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Best Bad Things

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
3.37  · 
Rating details
 ·  493 ratings  ·  152 reviews


More filters
 | 
Sort order
Scarlett Readz and Runz....Through Novel Time & Distance
*Trigger Warning, book contains very explicit content and violence.*



Inspired by one of the busiest seaports on the West Coast in the US, Townsend was a well-documented hot spot for smuggling in the late 1880’s. This makes it a perfect setting for a historical fiction novel with such a daring plot. Amidst the dirt of the trade, the characters are edgy, the scenes are explicit and the atmosphere reeks of dark, pungent alleys, infused with betrayal, espionage and murder.

From the Author’s Note:

San
...more
Liz
Oct 25, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley

So, I’m a fan of mysteries and historical fiction. The idea of a mystery taking place in the 1880s sounded right up my alley. Add in a female protagonist and I was all set to like it. Unfortunately, it didn’t engage me the way I hoped. The writing was as dense as pea soup.

Alma Rosales goes undercover as a man to find who is stealing opium from her boss, Delphine, who is also her former lover. But I really didn’t take an interest in Alma. I had trouble buying into her ability to pose as a man. S
...more
Michelle
I was pleasantly surprised by Katrina Carrasco's The Best Bad Things which I picked up through NetGalley. I thought the premise behind this story was new and refreshing. Set in America's Gilded Age, The Best Bad Things illustrates how women were treated during that time, the juxtaposition of poverty with the onset of industrialization. Carrasco takes advantage of these happenings highlighting the building of the Railroad system and the opium epidemic within the context of the story. The main cha ...more
CaseyTheCanadianLesbrarian
What an ending!!!! One whole extra star for the ending alone. Damn!!

This historical crime / thriller novel is about a cross dressing former government spy who now works for an opium smuggling ring in the 1880s. Her boss Delphine (a fellow queer woman of colour) has sent her to investigate opium that's gone missing. This plot was a bit too smart for me -- I had trouble keeping track of characters and threads. This has happened to me before with mysteries, I guess my brain is not inclined that way
...more
Sarah
I was so excited to read this one, but it really ended up being a let down for me! I couldn't finish it. I found the writing really dense and dry and I was just so bored. Apparently fighting and opium smuggling are not my thing. A lot of people clearly had a much better experience, so I'd say give it a try if the blurb sounds interesting, but this one was just not for me.

*I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Paul
May 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A vivd cast of characters, a strong decisive style, and a burning tension throughout make The Best Bad Things a book I can highly recommend. Alma Rosales is a smart, savvy character who will not be forgotten any time soon. A great debut novel.

Thank you to NetGalley, Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, and Katrina Carrasco for the advanced copy for review.

Full review can be found here: https://paulspicks.blog/2018/05/09/th...

Please check out all my reviews: https://paulspicks.blog
Kyra Leseberg (Roots & Reads)
Oct 06, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arc
Washington Territory, 1887: Alma Rosales has been dismissed from the Pinkerton's Detective Agency for her questionable behavior and after a brief stint in California as a P.I., she's working for her former lover Delphine, the head of an opium smuggling ring.

Disguised as a man named Jack Camp, Rosales infiltrates the local organization on the docks of Port Townsend to discover who has been stealing product from Delphine.  
She manages to earn the trust of the crew and their boss, Nathaniel Wheeler
...more
- ̗̀ DANY  ̖́- (danyreads)
. : ☾⋆ — 3 ★

READ THIS REVIEW ON MY BLOG!!!
https://bit.ly/2C22f0r

ARC provided from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review (thank you Farrar, Straus and Giroux!!)

The Best Bad Things follows Alma Rosales, a gender-fluid, half Mexican, bisexual Pinkerton agent in the late 1880s in Port Townsend, Washington. Alma, working undercover for her former-lover-turned-boss, infiltrates the local drug outpost disguised as a male dockworker in the hunt for stolen opium from a West Coast
...more
Kasa Cotugno
A shape shifting Pinkerton operator in Port Townsend, before Washington became a state. Well written with much mystery and enough intrigue. Hopefully there will be more from this author in a series that promises originality and style.
Eric
Feb 17, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Best Bad Things by Katrina Carrasco is a multi-layered novel based in the 1880's Pacific Northwest that details the infiltration of the opium drug smuggling business by Alma Rosales. It is not a spoiler to describe Rosales employs the disguise of different characters in her investigation, including that as portraying herself as a rough and tumble man named Jack Camp.

Rosales, once worked for the Pinkerton Agency and now as both Jack Camp and Alma Rosales, is now employed by a bi-racial, belie
...more
Taryn Pierson
And the award for most apt title goes to…! This book is seriously gritty, dark, bloody, at times disturbing, and after listing those descriptors I’m not sure I can articulate why I liked it so much. Maybe because, like its main character, it doesn’t apologize for how nasty it is. Alma Rosales, sometimes known as Jack Camp, is a former Pinkerton agent who is now working her way up the ladder in a smuggling ring headed by her beautiful onetime lover, Delphine. When she’s summoned from San Francisc ...more
Kaijsa
Aug 02, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This was not for me. Alma Rosales was a completely unbelievable character, and I couldn't suspend my disbelief. I wanted to love this book and the description attracted me mostly because of Alma. She isn't like anybody I've read about before and that appealed to me--I'd love to read more with gender fluid characters of color in a different book. But beyond the almost superhuman protagonist (she can fight anybody and miraculously heal!), I wasn't into the writing style or the violence, especially ...more
Rana
Mar 08, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: never-finished
Nope. Two major issues here:

1. The "gender fluidity" that other reviewers called out felt incredibly inauthentic, I think because there was actually very little character development at all, just this weird emphasis on sex and desire and nothing else.

2. There's a point at which the protagonist speaks in some Chinese language and I'm almost 100% sure it was completely made up. I tried a thousand different ways to get the words to make sense through Google translate and it wasn't working. It als
...more
Martha
Nov 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The highest compliment I can pay this book is to say that it completely consumed my brain while I was reading it -- everything that happened in my day made me think of it, and I spent most of my waking moments at least 15% in its world. Everything in that world is distinctive and fully formed, from the environment to the relationships and the characters, and the comfort with which Carrasco addresses the complexities of gender is impressive and reassuring.

So, basically: Better than Cats, would r
...more
Geonn Cannon
May 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book sounded like it was tailor-made for me. Female Pinkerton agent in pre-statehood Washington (Port Townsend, to be exact), AND she likes the ladies? I've never wanted Netgalley to approve me for a book than this one. It did not disappoint!

While it has a strong mystery plot as the backbone, the real draw of this book is the main character (who is bisexual, as it turns out). Alma is one of the toughest protagonists I've read in a long time. Is Alma good or bad? Is she the law or a criminal
...more
Jennifer
This book started off with a bang and I remember thinking, "Oh man...this is going to be an awesome book." Sadly though, for me personally, things started to go downhill shortly thereafter and I could barely sustain enough interest to finish it.

To be clear, I don't think this is necessarily a BAD book. There is some very solid writing in here. I think it just wasn't a match for me.

The book does have a damn fine opening though. Lots of action and Alma/Jack is an intriguing lead character. I love
...more
Authentikate
3.5 Stars

Alma Rosales is a new sort of heroine. She’s smart. She’s brash. She’s a snoop and a spy. She’s daring, sharp-tongued and maybe a little too full of herself. Her self-confidence is both a blessing and a curse as she sets off on high-adrenaline historical fiction suspenseful thrill ride.

A former detective for the notorious Pinkerton agency, Alma, fired but unwilling to give up the hunt, begins her work for a jasmine-dripped woman named Delphine. Alma goes undercover as a man named Jack
...more
Karen Kay
I received this from netgalley.com in exchange for a review.

Alma Rosales is searching for stolen opium. Shifting between a lady and her male persona Jack Camp, she lies, cheats and kills to find what she is looking for.

It was an effort to get through this, having to read over the previous pages to keep track of the story. The writing was okay, but the story and its characters were a struggle to follow.

2☆
Emily
Been describing this as "If Quentin Tarantino were a queer woman and wrote historical fiction," and I stand by that it. Gritty but not depressing, sexy, violent, and a TON of fun to read (more fun than watching a Tarantino movie). Alma/Jack, the brawling, careless, ambitious character at the heart of this novel is just unforgettable. I have a few quibbles, but this was so unusual and engaging that I can mostly ignore them.
Heidi
This bloody, thrilling, mysterious book left me breathless and wanting more. It’s unlike anything else, a remarkable and revelatory debut tackling the intersections of gender, violence, lust, greed, and power against the historical backdrop of late 19th century Washington State in the age of mining, shipping, and opium smuggling. This novel’s protagonist resists gender categorization although many will likely attempt to put Alma Rosales and Jack Camp into neat boxes. Don’t fall for it. Stay in t ...more
Abby
Dec 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

I came for a great read and I got a major motion picture in my head! Reading The Best Bad Things is like being plunged into a queer historical action-adventure movie, with the character-driven nuance of prestige TV—and literary fiction. To say that this novel pulses with life is as close to literal as can be; Katrina Carrasco takes us inside the physicality of her fearless, calculating, inimitable protagonist Alma Rosales to a degree I’ve rarely experienced before as a reader, and all without re
...more
Kylie
Jan 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Queer bisexual mystery of my dreams, where have you been all my life?!

I love queer, subversive characters. Gritty mysteries. Well-written sexual tension. Yet I've never gotten all three in one book -- until The Best Bad Things. I found myself constantly delighted by how Carrasco's characters transgress the social norms we (or at least I) usually assume were in place during the late 1800s. As a queer person, it was so incredibly refreshing to read.

The book really picked up for me about halfway t
...more
Megan
Jul 28, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Super confused by the high reviews on this book. I love to read and rarely find books I don’t at least kind of like. This is one of the books I really don’t like. Overall the story could have been great when you look at the bones of it, hence my two star rating. But ultimately this particular telling was a bomb for me. And what is it with the sexual violence? I don’t feel it added to the story at all. Don’t waste your time on this one.
Patty
A novel set in 1887 in Port Townsend, Washington, starring Alma Rosales: ex-Pinkerton detective, current opium smuggler. Alma is newly arrived in Port Townsend, and is there on a mission. Part One: figure out who is the head of the opium game in town. Part Two: take his place. As you might imagine, this turns out to be far more complicated than she originally planned, and the plot turns on blackmail, murder, torture, bribes, backstabbing, moles, broken promises, fake interrogations, mistaken ide ...more
Aj Smith
Dec 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was one of final books I read in 2018, (well I listened to the audiobook, although I have also bought the book and will be reading it the traditional way very soon) but even before I finished it, The Best Bad Things shot rapidly to the joint top of my books of the year list. Everything about this book seriously excellent; the writing is raw and compelling, leaving me utterly spellbound from the outset. There's a broad cast of characters but it's not confusing, they're all so well created an ...more
Ed Bernard
Hm. Some things are better than the sum of their parts, like the 2016 Super Bowl Champion NE Patriots. This book is the opposite. Everything is in place for a terrific historical suspense thriller – a compelling protagonist, a richly researched time and place, a dramatic plot with a lot of competing interests, beautifully written sentences and a fine ear for dialog, many good secondary characters. And yet, at least for me, this book was a bit of a slog. Honestly, if any of the above were NOT tru ...more
Melissa Dee
Nov 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Its easy to dismiss some of the violent, gritty periods in history as the product of excess testosterone and insufficient civilization. But the story of the women who chose to dress as men, and swagger their way through the early part of the century defies that explanation.

Alma Rosales is a ruthless, ambitious ex-Pinkerton detective. She works as a man named Jack Camp. More than bisexual, Rosales/Camp seems to have no fixed sexual identity at all; she slips into either of her identities with ea
...more
Wendy
Mar 14, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5*- ish. It's hard to put into words how I feel about this book. It's about Anna / Jack (depending on what the situation warrants, Anna goes around as Jack). She works in an opium smuggling ring in the late 1800s, headed by a queer woman of color, Delphine. Someone has been stealing product and she is tasked to find out who.
Anna is a complex character. She's bisexual, I guess. However, I get the idea that she just likes sex. Her dressing up as a man stems from trying to do "manly" job, like b
...more
Donna Hines
It's 1887 and Detective Alma Rosales is on the hunt for stolen opium.
It's best for mature audiences as we have a character who operates as bi sexual and often shows her sexual prowess after certain violent actions which was bizarre as a reader.
Many may take issue with the fact she's also gone undercover as a man throwing the relatable factor to the main character out the window.
In terms of writing style it was spot on and superb. It captured the readers attention and never let up so be prepared
...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Cassandra
  • Unmasked by the Marquess (Regency Imposters, #1)
  • Hag
  • Naamah
  • The Boy Who Shot the Sheriff: The Redemption of Herbert Niccolls Jr.
  • Death's Dancer (Grace Bloods, #1)
  • One True Way
  • The Barrow Will Send What it May (Danielle Cain #2)
  • A Different Kind of Fire
  • Wild Life
  • So Lucky
  • The Doll Factory
  • Girl Gangs, Biker Boys, and Real Cool Cats: Pulp Fiction and Youth Culture, 1950 to 1980
  • Like a Sniper Lining Up His Shot
  • Jazz Moon
  • The Heavens
  • Maggie Terry
  • Leaving Earth
See similar books…
90 followers
Katrina Carrasco's short stories have appeared in Witness, Post Road, Quaint, and other journals. Her nonfiction can be found at Autostraddle, CrimeReads, Literary Hub, and elsewhere. She has been awarded residencies at Yaddo, Blue Mountain Center, I-Park, Jentel, Willapa Bay AiR, and Mineral School, and received a 2017 Grants for Artist Projects award from Artist Trust. She lives in Seattle with ...more