Meet Chloe. First-year student, ordinary, legging-wearing, girl next door… and diagnosed psychopath with an IQ of 135. Her hobbies include yogalates, parties and plotting to kill Will Bachman.
Chloe is part of a secret clinical study of young psychopaths run by the university’s Psychology Department. Most psychopaths aren’t criminals, but when a string of murders on campus causes upheaval, Chloe’s private vendetta is sidelined. Partnered with fellow study participants she can’t trust – and distracted by typical university life – Chloe has to walk the line between hunter and prey.
Thank you firstly to Anna at Harvill Secker for the proof copy of this book, a campus thriller with a psychopath storyline? Yes please!!
The discription tells what you need to know, Chloe starts university sponsored by a psychology programme studying psychopaths led by the emminent Dr Leonard Wyman. Chloe has a purpose at this specific university, acadmically able she had her choice of offers, but hear to right a wrong, Will Bachman has no idea what is coming for him!
Chloe’s story unfolds and through the course of the book we learn about the history of her and Will. Alongside this is the psychology programm and a couple of murders, which seem linked. Chloe intelligent and ruthless quickly identifies a couple of allies and the game of cat and mouse begins, as it becomes increasingly clearer that programme participants are being targeted. Without taking her eye off of her main prize Chloe must avoid becoming the next victim, while working with a couple of fellow psychopaths – who can be trusted here?
Told predominantly in the first person voice of Chloe, I enjoyed this view into her mind, observing her willingness to lie and manipulate for her own gain. That said I liked her, she was a true kick-ass protagonist, determined, strong and intelligent. Other perspectives are gleaned, namely Chloe’s allies; Charles and Aaron whose stories are told in the third person narrative. I liked this style of writing which had the effect of creating energy and pace.
The storyline itself was comprehensive and entertaining, introducing characters in a timely manner to create a plausible plot which kept me guessing whilst also coming together nicely for a tight conclusion. I enjoyed the campus context of the novel and the student life including communal living and frat houses. At close to 400 pages the novel is a sizeable one, however short chapters kept the pages turning and fast, engaging writing kept the book in hand. Written as a ‘count down’ to Will’s death, Chloe from the outset has a date for her victim’s demise, don’t get confused as the days work down to 0!
A fun read, macabre deaths, a crime to be solved and a sharp witted anti heroine at its heart. What is not to like? Available now to buy and recommended by me.
Thanks as always for reading.
About the Author
Vera Kurian is a Washington DC-based writer with a doctorate in social psychology who has studied fiction at Breadloaf, Sewanee and VONA and has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize.