I received a free digital ARC from the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.
I LOVE a great unreliable narrator and that is exactly what you get with Chloe, our main character. After all, she's a psychopath and I think we know a diagnosis like that doesn't exactly scream honesty. Yet I feel like the author did a really good job in her portrayal - not everyone with this diagnosis is a murderer, after all.
Chloe is a freshman in college at a small school in DC. She's just like any other 18-year-old on campus, except that she is one of seven students on a full ride at the school who are part of a study conducted concerning psychopaths. A well-known psychologist leads the study, which includes the participants being required to wear smart watches that track their movements and moods. They also respond to surveys about various situations and their answers are recorded to glean information about what it really means to be a psychopath.
One thing does set Chloe apart though, and that is her plot to kill a former friend who happens to attend the same college, for a terrible sin he committed against her in the past.
This plot to kill Will, however, takes a bit of a backseat once Chloe and her fellow psychopaths learn one of their own has been murdered in the psych building. Suddenly the group must work together to figure out how to go from prey to predator - because being any kind of prey is something none of them are used to. She still manages to put her plan into action, but there's so much more going on than that and it becomes a whirlwind trying to keep up with it all.
Despite the fact that they are all psychopaths, the characters really are quite diverse - especially considering that one of them is not actually a psychopath and is there solely for the full ride, and has faked his diagnosis. So he spends his time trying to figure out who he can really trust because obviously everyone knows you can't trust one.
So Chloe and her tentative allies are trying to stay one step ahead of someone who wants them dead. And Chloe is still dead-set on taking out Will in the process. He deserves it, so have no fear. Death is too kind, in all honesty.
The tension for me comes from the fact that there are psychopaths just wandering out among the population. Chloe, Charles, and Andre, plus the other students in the study. We also have to consider the professor in charge, and various other side characters. You truly do not know who to trust.
I found Charles to be especially compelling. He has a girlfriend and it really is hard to get a good read on him. Is he with her as a cover to hide in plain sight? Or is he truly trying to be part of a society he doesn't fit into and doesn't understand him? Charles does care about her as far as possible for him to do so. He also cares about how others perceive him, which is interesting, and he does make a lot of effort to not let his diagnosis control every last aspect of his life. These factors also make his interactions with Chloe all the more interesting.
This was such a wild ride that I really loved. A bunch of psychopaths just out trying to be regular people, not get murdered, and get their homework turned in on time.
What an interesting idea for a book plot. And it sounds as though the writer did a really good job of developing it.ReplyDelete
It really was! There's literally no one to trust because they're all liars and you just have to take them at their word.Delete
"faked his diagnosis".ReplyDelete
That last sentence sounds like a blurb for an 80's movie :)
And yet...maybe he was not actually faking after all... ;) You'll have to read it to find out!Delete
I'm on it. :))Delete
Yes!! I really think you'll like it.Delete