Genre: Adult Thriller
Year Release: 2022
Source: Library Audiobook
Listened to the audiobook
Content warning: vomiting, sex trafficking, drug abuse, alcoholism, murder, gore
Jess goes to Paris for a fresh start on her brother’s invitation. But once she arrives at the ritzy Paris apartment building where he’s taken up residence, something is wrong. She can’t reach Ben. All the neighbors are cagey, and she just wants to know where her brother is. Secrets abound as a conspiracy unfolds.
A slow burn of a mystery in which everybody is a suspect with enough bread crumbs to give readers room to figure out the resolution themselves.
This book sure goes places. What I found fascinating about the structure of this mystery is that it’s not as concentrated on the immediate problems of our main characters. There isn’t a body found and a race against the weather to uncover who the culprit is. Much like Foley’s other work, there is a fairly linear story with much context provided in terms of flashbacks. It’s masterfully done in a way that allows the reader to find out what happened to Ben on their own. In terms of specifics, I can’t speak too much because spoilers, but the problem that proves to be true villain is a systemic one. Watching it unfold and get addressed by the main characters is equal parts fascinating and heart-wrenching.
One of my problems with the book is the diegesis of when the characters are speaking French or English. If consistency with that kind of thing bothers you, I’d recommend a different read. There are asides when the French characters are speaking French that are more for the benefit of the reader than something happening in the text.
That being said, this book has a clear sense of place and culture. Jess is a fish out of water, and it goes both on the axis of class and culture gap between her being English and everyone around her being French. The tension is a lot more subtle, where it’s less overtly life-threatening and more secrets waiting to come out. And oh boy, is every new reveal a doozy. Jess is a delight from a characterization standpoint, a woman who’s made mistakes but wants to set things right, not just for herself but the people she meets along the way.
This read is thought-provoking and raises a ton of questions about internal and external validation, both on the part of students and their parents.