The next novel of psychological suspense and obsession from the authors of the blockbuster bestseller The Wife Between Us
Seeking women ages 18–32 to participate in a study on ethics and morality. Generous compensation. Anonymity guaranteed.
When Jessica Farris signs up for a psychology study conducted by the mysterious Dr. Shields, she thinks all she’ll have to do is answer a few questions, collect her money, and leave. But as the questions grow more and more intense and invasive and the sessions become outings where Jess is told what to wear and how to act, she begins to feel as though Dr. Shields may know what she’s thinking…and what she’s hiding. As Jess’s paranoia grows, it becomes clear that she can no longer trust what in her life is real, and what is one of Dr. Shields’ manipulative experiments. Caught in a web of deceit and jealousy, Jess quickly learns that some obsessions can be deadly.
From the authors of the blockbuster bestseller The Wife Between Us comes an electrifying new novel about doubt, passion, and just how much you can trust someone.
Last year I had the opportunity to secure via NetGalley and read an advance e-copy of The Wife Between Us, a much-anticipated psychological thriller that once it was published, it quickly climbed up The New York Times Best Seller list. While it was not exactly a read to my taste, a standpoint with which I have been very much in the minority, I foresaw the success of the book and it sparked my curiosity about the subsequent releases of the interesting writing duo formed by Greek Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen. Having noticed the Read Now feature of An Anonymous Girl on NetGalley, I jumped at the opportunity of reading this new novel of suspense penned by these two authors in advance. I would therefore consider myself a lucky reader for a second time in a row.
An Anonymous Girl is a forthcoming title by Greer Hendricks in collaboration with Sarah Pekkanen, set for publication at the start of 2019. It is a solid follow-up to the much-discussed and twisted The Wife Between Us, a tension-packed, slow-burning psychological thriller that is a neat and overarching representation of this genre characteristics. An Anonymous Girl is a well-structured and coherent piece of writing, with the suspense permeating every chapter of the book and the mystery unraveling gradually so as to give the reader time to make their own suppositions. I thought the revelations had been incorporated into the narrative more smoothly and in a less labyrinthine fashion as contrasted with The Wife Between Us, which had been almost entirely based on a plethora of twists. I personally took to this different avenue utilized by the authors in An Anonymous Girland I was not bothered by the predictability of some of the plot points. One aspect of this book that stands out and is to my liking and did not characterize the debut publication of this writing duo is that An Anonymous Girl succeeds in delivering high quality suspense and being psychologically intricate without depending upon a convoluted narrative structure.
The subject is without a doubt well-researched and thought-provoking and distinguishes this psychological thriller. I enjoyed the occasional references to real-life psychological experiments and studies. The story is told in the first person, from two alternate perspectives. While being on the job, Jessica Farris, a makeup artist living in New York, finds out about a study on ethics and morality searching for female respondents to participate in a questionnaire in exchange for a 500-dollar payment. Enticed by the prospect of easy money and knowing the client she is attending to is unlikely to partake in the study, Jessica surreptitiously gets the details from the client’s phone and arrives at the premises the next day to take the survey. The questions she has to answer are very personal and a bit peculiar, unlike what she expected initially from the study.
Could you tell a lie without feeling guilt?
Have you deeply hurt someone you care about?
After the conclusion of the participation in the questionnaire, Jessica is invited to take part in the research repeatedly with further compensation. From then on, her involvement in the study expands and the tasks do not limit to only survey completion any more. Jessica also comes face to face to Dr. Shields, an enigmatic and respected female psychiatrist, in charge of the study she is part of and the second narrator of the novel. Jessica experiences contradictory thoughts: she is dubious about the increasingly bizarre assignments given by Dr. Shields as well as the reason behind the study and the money she is paid, yet she inexplicably feels drawn to her. Most of the narrative is thereby centered around the relationship establishing between Jessica and Dr. Shields.
To conclude, I read An Anonymous Girl in one day and I can hence assure you that it is an unputdownable and absorbing psychological thriller with deranged and flawed characters, whose interactions with each other constitute the basis for the finely done psychological suspense. For me it was a significantly better read than The Wife Between Us, deemed a great novel in the eyes of many readers, so I expect An Anonymous Girl to be equally well-received by the psychological thriller reading community.
I would like to thank NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review.