The writing duo of Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen have followed up their highly successful debut, The Wife Between Us, with the stonking An Anonymous Girl. I do not know how they manage to work as a writing partnership, but it works, and they really create a twisted psychological thriller.
Jessica Farris is a make-up artist for BeautyBuzz and works across New York, making females look beautiful and feel good about themselves. On one job she is working on, a couple of students from NYU have been invited to take part in a moral survey, for an academic study. She looks at the pair of students and knows they are bound to pull out at the last moment. She decides to take in their place and take the survey, especially as it is one where you get paid.
When she turns up for the survey, she explains to the research assistant what she has done and, once he has checked it is okay, everything is allowed to run its course and she becomes Subject 52. Being a moral survey, she finds the questions interesting and stimulating. When she is paid at the end of the interview, she is asked if she can come again and she accepts.
As she gets to know the doctor in charge of the survey, Dr Shields, she is given a number of challenges which she accepts and carries them out, but she starts to become suspicious. While she begins to feel something is wrong and tries to investigate Dr Shields and her moral survey, things begin to change for Jessica. Those things my not necessarily change for the best, and she becomes isolated and alone, Jessica needs to fight back. But Dr Shields is like a chess grand master and plans a few moves ahead. Will Jessica survive?
This is a well-crafted psychological thriller, with plenty of twists and turns, you think you know what Dr Shields is going to do next when a curve ball is delivered to send you in a different direction.
Paul Diggett 5/5
An Anonymous Girl by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen
Macmillan 9781529010718 hbk Feb 2019