Due to lack of money, Jessica signs up for a paid psychology study conducted by mysterious Dr. Shields. All she has to do at the beginning is to answer questions, but as they grow more and more intense and personal, Jess’ paranoia starts to act up. Realising that she knows nothing about Dr. Shields, she tries to change it, however becomes tangled in a web of deceit and jealously. Jessica is left alone to figure out how to defeat an enemy who knows everything about her – including her darkest secret.
This story is told from two, 1st person perspectives – one of Jessica and the other of Dr. Shields. It is engaging, reading the inner most thoughts, especially of the psychologist, getting to know how she thinks about the study and its participants. Jessica’s perspective tells us the story, but doctor’s perspective dives deeper into the ‘why’s’ behind it. Having said that, I do feel that having two narrators has taken away the mystery and the thrill out of the novel. Once you figure out how both of them think and function, the plot becomes quite predictable.
The writing itself was pleasant – surprisingly, it read efficiently, despite of its length. There seemed to be differences between the writing styles of two authors, however I didn’t find them to be that significant, didn’t really bother me.
The two main characters weren’t particularly believable. It seemed like Dr. Shields was meant to be portrayed as this sophisticated villain with a tinge of madness to her, yet she felt silly to me. Perhaps even a little bit as if she was from a children’s cartoon, created to be made fun of. On the other hand, Jessica was more relatable yet completely dull. Other than her occupations, we do not learn about any other hobbies she might have, she doesn’t have an friends that act a significant part in her life. On top of that, she seems to be walking her dog every second chapter. Apart from that and her interactions with the psychologist, she doesn’t do anything, lack of personality.
My favourite element of this novel was the study itself. The first part of the book focuses heavily on it, it is meant to be a survey concerning morality and ethics. It is rather simple, Jessica is asked a question and she types her answer on a computer, her responses are evaluated by the doctor at the same time and the questions get adjusted based on the feedback. I enjoyed the questions tremendously, I found myself trying to answer them myself. It was an intriguing aspects that I could participate in, just for myself.
It was my first time reading what can be described as a psychological thriller and so I don’t feel comfortable judging it too harshly on that part, didn’t feel like a thriller though. Personally, it was a satisfactory read, nothing special yet good enough. I enjoyed some aspects of it, the thought and ideas, rather than the writing and story telling, I think that was lacking in it. I don’t think I will be picking up any more work by those authors anytime soon, however I am now more intrigued by the genre itself and will definitely check it out, it has caught my interest.
If you guys have any recommendations, I’d love to hear them, please comment down below!
Thank you for reading this review and until next time, Dream On, Dreamers!