Seeking women aged 18-32 to participate in a study on ethics and morality. Generous compensation. Anonymity guaranteed.
When Jessica Farris signs up for a psychological 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 is real in her life, 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.
Thank you to NetGalley, Pan Macmillan, Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen for the chance to read and review this novel.
“It’s easy to judge other people’s choices”
Jessica Farris is a make-up artist living in New York in her small studio apartment with her dog, Leo. When she overhears a client talking about an appointment she’s going to blow off in the morning as even $500 isn’t worth getting up early on a Saturday for, her interest is piqued. When you’re living paycheck to paycheck that fee would help pay the rent, so Jess notes down the info and, ironically, lies her way into the Morality and Ethics Research Project. After all, it will be easy to sit and answer a few questions. Unbeknown to Jess the person in charge of the study, Dr. Shields, is watching her every move from another room and becoming increasingly convinced that she’s found someone special.
“It’s remarkable how the simplest of our decisions can create a butterfly effect; how a seemingly inconsequential action can cause a tsunami….”
When Dr. Shields proposes expanding the study Jess is unsure, especially as she’s given little information about what will be expected from her. But Dr. Shields lures her into agreeing by the promise of even higher compensation. As Jess is instructed to do increasingly bizarre things by Dr. Shields, she starts to question what is really going on. Is this really still a study on morality and ethics or is there another agenda entirely? As she tries to unravel the truth enigmatic doctor and the study, things begin to happen that make Jess believe she is in danger and has made a big mistake….
“..sometimes the people who seem the most accomplished and together are the ones who can hurt you the deepest.”
An Anonymous Girl is an unputdownable, cryptic and, at times, unnerving book. It is well written with two great main characters. Jess is someone you can relate to: a young woman just trying to make ends meet, loyal to her family, doing her best to make up for past mistakes, and who is still figuring herself, and life, out. Dr. Shields on the other hand is a glorious villain: sinister, obsessive, cunning, malevolent, unstable, twisted and menacing, but also highly intelligent and knows how to use both money and kindness to control Jess. As I read I thought I had certain characters figured out. I was wrong. I sat in surprise and shock as the unexpected twist was revealed. I didn’t see it coming at all. The dramatic conclusion was full of tension and was so well done that I couldn’t guess what would happen and who would triumph. This book was a fantastic and electrifying read that lived up to the hype.
Out February 7th 2019 (UK)