If there ever comes a day when we can’t be together, keep me in your heart. I’ll stay there forever. ~ Alison Gaylin, The Collective
Camille Gardner is a grieving—and angry—mother who, five years after her daughter’s death, is still obsessed with the privileged young man she believes to be responsible. When her rash actions attract the attention of a secret group of women—the collective— Camille is drawn into a dark web where these mothers share their desire for justice in a world where privilege denies accountability and perpetrators emerge unscathed. Fueled by mutual rage, these women orchestrate their own brand of justice through precise, anonymous, complexly plotted and perfectly executed revenge killings, with individual members completing a specific and integral task in each plan. Becoming more deeply enmeshed in the group, Camille learns truths about the collective—and about herself—that she may not be able to survive.
The Collective was a propulsive read that is at once disturbing and thought-provoking. The protagonist in this book abandons her moral compass to get revenge, something most of us would never consider doing. Could I ever kill someone if he or she had intentionally caused my child’s death? Could I play a role in the murder of a person who had caused the death of another mother’s son or daughter? Heck no—I can barely step on a spider. But reading about women who plot to do it was morbidly fascinating. Gaylin has written an intense, first-class novel that will have you wringing your hands to find out what happens next. Yeah, I liked it. 4 stars.
Genre: Psychological Thriller, Suspense
Readalikes: Roses are Red (James Patterson), The Chain (Adrian McKinty), Find Her (Lisa Gardner), Mother May I (Joshilyn Jackson)