What’s it about?
You see the people you work with every day. But what can’t you see?
Amira, Sarah, Paula, Ewan and Charlie have worked together for years – they know how each one likes their coffee, whose love life is a mess, whose children keep them up at night. But their comfortable routine life is suddenly shattered when an aggressive new boss walks in ….
Now, there’s something chilling in the air.
Who secretly hates everyone?
Who is tortured by their past?
Who is capable of murder?
I requested this dark psychological novel based on how much I loved Tammy Cohen’s other one, Dying for Christmas, and even if I didn’t know what I was signing up for exactly, I did have some expectations. These expectations were certainly met. Tammy Cohen is the queen of unforeseeable twists. She managed to surprise me twice so far and I know now that I definitely want to read her other books.
This novel was basically an ingeniously drafted guessing game. A variety of characters work together in a HR recruitment office and each one has its own voice in the novel. What starts as a close-knit group, loyal to each other, falls apart when Rachel, a new boss from hell, arrives to replace the recently sacked Gill. Interspersed with the followings of these individuals and how they go from being happy individuals to people on the verge of a mental breakdown as they all feel the threat of losing their job, is the voice of Dr. Anne Cater, a child psychologist, who revisits past events when she started her career. Back then she was full of ideals and looking to do the right thing. The case that set her on the map career-wise was the assistance to Dr. Ed Kowalsky in the assessment of Child L, a child rescued with her brother, Child D, from the so-called House of Horror. Dr. Carter and Dr. Kowalsky have to decide whether Child L can be adopted or has to stay in the psychiatric care. Back then there was still the general perception that young children could simply start anew and replace memories with new, happy ones if they were young enough but that remains to be decided.
It’s obvious that there is a connection between the two stories but I kept changing my mind about who the big spill factor was, the character linking both threads. Someone is going to die, and someone else is going to turn out to be a murderer. But who will it be, and why? The people depicted here all have issues and secrets. I know it was necessary to the story, but I did feel it was kind of depressing how low all these characters were feeling and it was maybe a little long to read one depressing life story after another, especially if there is nothing to counter it with. I did very much like the workplace setting though, a setting quite new for me to read about and which worked really well. I really like it too that there is not one possible suspect (as there so often is) but so many to choose from. She throws in some red herrings and I was eagerly anticipating the moment where these two seemingly separate and unconnected threads would collide in the end and we would find out what happened to Child L and her brother all these years ago.
The story kept me on my toes the entire time, thinking and guessing, but I was still surprised, I couldn’t ask for more.
I received a free copy of this book from the publicist via Netgalley in exchange for my honest opinion.