The Anonymous Girl by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen
Book of the Month Choice December 2018
Finished June 25, 2020
Synopsis from GoodReads:
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.
This was my first book by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen. It is their second book together. On GoodReads this book has an average of 3.82 stars with almost 94,000 ratings. Between the cover and the synopsis it is hard to not be intrigued. Plus the crew at Book of the Month usually put up some awesome thrillers. So, as a first timer to this dynamic duo of female thriller writers, I was pleasantly surprised. The book is set in New York, a common setting from the duo, and follows a young girl, Jessica, who is strapped for cash. She pays some of her sister’s medical bills and lives off the rest, which isn’t much. She weasels her way in to a paid (not so) anonymous survey to make extra cash. This is where we first meet Dr. Shields.
Dr. Shields becomes obsessed with morality and loyalty after her husband, the love of her life, the light in her dark, cheats on her with another woman. Dr. Shields develops an unhealthy attraction to her study of morality and it morphs into something a lot more dangerous for both Jessica and Dr. Shields husband.
Jessica find herself so immersed in Dr. Shields world that she finds it hard to tell what is actual life and what is an orchestrated test created by Dr. Shields. Jessica becomes paranoid, questioning everything and everyone.
The part in this book that really got me was the manipulation from a psychologist. A person in a position of trust. Someone you have no idea of from Adam or Eve is keeping all your secrets and you are blindly trusting them to not use them against you. To me, that is terrifying. To have someone like that wield their power and take advantage of someone in a weak position is just wrong. When you bare your soul to someone you form an attachment, however unintentional. They have your secrets so of course you are going to do what they say. That right there is why is this book is good. The author duo exploited a vulnerability that we all and turned it into a situation that is not so far fetched. This probably happens all the time. *shudder*
I also appreciated the fact that Jessica isn’t a total pushover. I can’t stand books where females are rugs. There are some moments in this book where she is doormat but that is because Dr. Shields has her under her thumb and Jessica feels like she has no other choice but to do what she says. We’ve all been there. That fear is valid. This book is a slow build, another theme in the author duo books. There is so much of a build up that the ending was lackadaisical. Didn’t do much for me. In fact, it ended just how it should have. Sure you’re probably caught off guard but then immediately you say, “yeah, okay. That fits.” Overall though, I really enjoyed this book. I am really hard on psychological thrillers because I don’t fall for the traps being set in the book, I’m always more of a fly on the wall of the book.
Up next on the TBR is You Are Not Alone by the same duo, Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen. Looking forward to it! Thanks for stopping by!