The next time you consider signing up for a research study, you might want to think twice—and, in my opinion, you will after reading this book!
You’re Invited: Seeking women aged 18 to 32 to participate in a study on ethics and morality conducted by a preeminent NYC psychiatrist. Generous compensation. Anonymity guaranteed. Call for more details.
Jess is a makeup artist who came to New York dreaming of a career in the theater. When she overhears a client thinking about not showing up for a research study she was supposed to participate in—and it pays $500—Jess decides there’s nothing wrong with pretending to fill in for the young woman since $500 would really help with her rent.
Jess figures all she’ll need to do is answer some questions, collect her money, and leave. She wasn’t expecting the questions to be difficult, like Could you tell a lie without feeling guilty? Describe a time in your life when you cheated, or Have you ever deeply hurt someone you care about? But more than that, she wasn’t expecting the psychiatrist conducting the study—whom she never met—to give feedback on her answers and encourage her to be more honest and more in-depth. She has no idea that she’s enlisted to be a pawn in someones psychological warfare to test their husband’s fidelity.
As the sessions continue, and the payoff increases, Jess can’t help but wonder what the study really is all about (and rightly so!). While she is utterly unsettled when the psychiatrist asks whether Jess would be willing to expand her participation in the study, she starts to contemplate it. But when Jess learns that the compensation would be significantly higher, there’s no way she can turn the request down.
Expanding her participation in the study is definitely not what she expected. The psychiatrist (the world-renowned Dr. Lydia Shields) starts to tell Jess where to go, how to dress, and whom to meet—and in some cases, that entails striking up a conversation with a specific man. Jess begins feeling uncomfortable and wonders exactly what Dr. Shields wants to accomplish (I mean, at this point, wouldn’t you?). More and more, she questions whether she can trust the doctor—and then Jess finds something she needs to hide from her, or the doctor could destroy her life.
An Anonymous Girl is a wild book, full of twists and turns. You wonder how you might react in the same situation, but at the same time, I found myself shaking my head in disbelief almost as if I was watching a predictable horror movie “don’t go up the stairs alone” moment at times. An Anonymous Girl is a so much more nuanced than a B movie though. The pacing of the book was terrific, and I was hooked from start to finish. Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen are on their way to becoming co-author psychological thriller legends. Their first novel together The Wife Between Us came out in 2017 and now with An Anonymous Girl this year, they are quickly establishing themselves as a power writing duo.
This was a strong 4.5 out of 5 stars read for me, and I highly recommend you get your copy today! The only disappointment you will feel is when the novel is finished.