New to me author, Ms. Collin generates many emotions in me for this wicked suspense story. Let me first state that I went into this story cold. I didn't read the blurb. This was sent to me for a review and I for some reason thought it was a romance. This is not a romance, in spite of the title. This is a deranged suspense tale where a woman's name is dragged through the mud.
This story started slow for me. I didn't particularly like Vera. She is definitely not someone I would want as a friend. She is not a woman who wants to help lift other women up. She will be the one to sabotage you to get her way. I've met several of these people - men and women alike. I don't like them and I'd sooner watch them fall off a cliff than offer a helping hand. There is nothing likeable about this character which made the book start at around a 2 star for me. It was painful to slosh through the first few chapters because I couldn't care less how Vera was treated. In some ways, I empathize with the people she's wronged because it definitely feels like Karma hit her hard.
As the story unfolds, we learn exactly what happens to Vera and I am no longer amused. I don't exactly feel sorry for Vera, but how she's vilified is not right at all. This witch hunt that she is experiencing is overboard. Sure, her way of treating people probably didn't help and probably allowed people to pile on her. But at the heart of it, her past actions shouldn't have bearing on her current situation. The other characters in this story are just as deplorable and I can't say there is anyone in here except for Quinn, the token gay best friend, that I liked. This story is a sad and an all too real representation of society today. I think we are doomed.
In addition to the horrible characters, this book is BDSM hostile which is a touchy subject for me. This book plays into the bad stereotypes of what vanillas think of BDSM and throws in some swinging sex as part of this BDSM lifestyle. Whilst BDSM is not used as a term in this book, the descriptions and insinuations are negative and eye rolling for me. Did they really need this piece in the book? Questionable. As a plot device I think it was needed a little bit to make the story work. It is a pivotal piece of information that suddenly helps Vera makes sense of it all. Que more eye rolling from me.
With all these points that I didn't like, how did I still rate it a 4 star? Because the writing is well done. The character creation is layered and infusing various characters with malicious envy without a heavy hand. This book is built on the premise that people do not have good intentions. People are selfish, arrogant, and ready to stab anyone in the back to get what they believe they deserve. Ms. Collins does an excellent job of describing and showing the malevolent mindset through continuous acts of entitlement. I am impressed with how accurately she captures the loudest parts of society with their nonstop demands of "I deserve it!" Through poor parenting to using so called friends, this is a story filled with pettiness and shallowness. Tying this all back to how Vera gets cancelled is wonderfully done. The ending caught me off guard and I liked it. I didn't expect a happily ever after and I'm not sure Vera deserves it.
Recommended to readers who love drama, mean girls, vicious characters, and psycho situations.
*provided by NetGalley