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The Collective

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The USA Today bestselling and Edgar Award–winning author of Never Look Back and If I Die Tonight plumbs the dark side of justice and the depths of diabolical revenge in this propulsive novel of psychological suspense that melds the driving narrative of Then She Was Gone with the breathtaking twists of The Chain and the violent fury of Kill Bill. Just how far will a grieving The USA Today bestselling and Edgar Award–winning author of Never Look Back and If I Die Tonight plumbs the dark side of justice and the depths of diabolical revenge in this propulsive novel of psychological suspense that melds the driving narrative of Then She Was Gone with the breathtaking twists of The Chain and the violent fury of Kill Bill. Just how far will a grieving mother go to right a tragic wrong? 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 wildly different stories of loss as well as 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. As Camille struggles to comprehend whether this is a role-playing exercise or terrifying reality, she must decide if these women are truly avenging angels or monsters. Becoming more deeply enmeshed in the group, Camille learns truths about the collective—and about herself—that she may not be able to survive.


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The USA Today bestselling and Edgar Award–winning author of Never Look Back and If I Die Tonight plumbs the dark side of justice and the depths of diabolical revenge in this propulsive novel of psychological suspense that melds the driving narrative of Then She Was Gone with the breathtaking twists of The Chain and the violent fury of Kill Bill. Just how far will a grieving The USA Today bestselling and Edgar Award–winning author of Never Look Back and If I Die Tonight plumbs the dark side of justice and the depths of diabolical revenge in this propulsive novel of psychological suspense that melds the driving narrative of Then She Was Gone with the breathtaking twists of The Chain and the violent fury of Kill Bill. Just how far will a grieving mother go to right a tragic wrong? 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 wildly different stories of loss as well as 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. As Camille struggles to comprehend whether this is a role-playing exercise or terrifying reality, she must decide if these women are truly avenging angels or monsters. Becoming more deeply enmeshed in the group, Camille learns truths about the collective—and about herself—that she may not be able to survive.

30 review for The Collective

  1. 5 out of 5

    Gabby

    Blasted through this thriller in a day, I love the concept of this book -- it has major good for her energy. We love to see a bunch of badass moms seeking revenge for their children. And the ending had a pretty unexpected plot twist! Some parts of the story dragged a little bit, and it's not necessarily a new all time favorite, but I had a lot of fun reading this one! Blasted through this thriller in a day, I love the concept of this book -- it has major good for her energy. We love to see a bunch of badass moms seeking revenge for their children. And the ending had a pretty unexpected plot twist! Some parts of the story dragged a little bit, and it's not necessarily a new all time favorite, but I had a lot of fun reading this one!

  2. 5 out of 5

    Joanna Chu (The ChuseyReader)

    Rating: 2.5 stars ~ Quick Summary ~ Camille wants nothing more than for her daughter’s murderer to pay. Her wish comes true when she joins the Collective - a group made up of grieving and vengeful mothers who take matters into their own hands to take out the privileged who deserve it. ~ Pick this up if you enjoy/don’t mind ~ 😮 A crazy plot, just be ready to suspend belief! 🐢 Slower pace. Picks up a tad (just a tad) in the second half. ~ What I Enjoyed ~ Sadly, this book did not do much for me. The Rating: 2.5 stars ~ Quick Summary ~ Camille wants nothing more than for her daughter’s murderer to pay. Her wish comes true when she joins the Collective - a group made up of grieving and vengeful mothers who take matters into their own hands to take out the privileged who deserve it. ~ Pick this up if you enjoy/don’t mind ~ 😮 A crazy plot, just be ready to suspend belief! 🐢 Slower pace. Picks up a tad (just a tad) in the second half. ~ What I Enjoyed ~ Sadly, this book did not do much for me. The ending and twist was not bad though. ~ What I Didn’t Enjoy ~ This was half way between wanting to be a popcorn thriller vs a thought provoking drama with complex characters and some mystery/thriller on the side. For me it didn’t hit the mark on both. Overall it was too slow and boring but I didn’t feel like there was much character depth or development either. The relationship between Camille, Luke and Joan was weird. Super duper weird. The first half was very slow and then it increased to slow in the second half. There were a few moments that really piqued my interest, but in between them and during Camille’s investigation it was uneventful. Most of the assignments (except for 1) were extremely boring because there were a lot of everyday tasks and no to little tension. For example go buy something, make a scene at a bar, pick this person up, etc and in detail as well. It's not until after do you find out why, which was pretty cool but I was already bored. I’m all for crazy and unrealistic plots however I have a low tolerance for characters doing silly things and I just can’t imagine anyone following instructions so easily from people on the dark web!! I was so interested to learn about the Collective but they turned out to be a dull bunch. The Facebook messages felt like I was reading comments from haters.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Denise

    I started this one, put it down, read another book, and then decided to pick it back up - and I'm glad I did. It is an engrossing, unique thriller that had me guessing until the last page! Five years after the death of her fifteen-year-old daughter, Emily, Camille Gardner is obsessed with the fact that Emily's accused killer, Harris Blanchard, never faced any consequences for his actions. Disgusted to learn that Harris is being bestowed a humanitarian award at his university, she attends the awa I started this one, put it down, read another book, and then decided to pick it back up - and I'm glad I did. It is an engrossing, unique thriller that had me guessing until the last page! Five years after the death of her fifteen-year-old daughter, Emily, Camille Gardner is obsessed with the fact that Emily's accused killer, Harris Blanchard, never faced any consequences for his actions. Disgusted to learn that Harris is being bestowed a humanitarian award at his university, she attends the award ceremony and has a breakdown that is recorded and splayed all over social media. Shortly after the incident, Camille is approached by a woman who hands her a card with one word on it. She soon learns there are other mothers out there who have had been wronged and who want justice - aka revenge. Her search leads her to the dark web, where she joins a group called The Collective. The group is shrouded in darkness and mystery, and it doesn't take Camille long to learn that revenge isn't all it's cracked up to be, but once you start, it's not easy to get out. Everything about this one is fresh - it sounds like a classic revenge tale, but with grieving mothers as the main characters, it takes on a whole new approach. I will say though that I didn't particularly connect with Camille. I could sympathize with her feelings, but she annoyed me most of the time. You know it's bad when you start siding with the "villains" in a book! Still though, her character is memorable, and I couldn't wait to find out how her story would end. There are a lot of moral gray areas in this one that make you think about the very fine line between justice and revenge, which I liked. The issue with playing judge, jury, and firing squad is that you cannot always be certain the person on whom you are exacting revenge was truly deserving, and that dilemma came through loud and clear in the plot. I also thought I had an idea of where things were headed, but I was completely wrong, as the ending was very unpredictable! Were there a few moments that bordered on outlandish? Possibly. But in the end, it all seemed to work to make this a book I won't soon forget. 4 stars.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Lindsay - Traveling Sisters Book Reviews

    3.5 stars Easy and entertaining! Camille is introduced to an online group for grieving mothers who have lost a child and struggle move on. Camille finds comfort knowing she is not alone. This group shares their emotions and thoughts encouraging and empowering the members to create retribution fantasy situations where they seek vengeance on the person responsible for their child’s death. A truly unique, dark and enthralling plot. The book started off strong! Although it lost steam for me after half 3.5 stars Easy and entertaining! Camille is introduced to an online group for grieving mothers who have lost a child and struggle move on. Camille finds comfort knowing she is not alone. This group shares their emotions and thoughts encouraging and empowering the members to create retribution fantasy situations where they seek vengeance on the person responsible for their child’s death. A truly unique, dark and enthralling plot. The book started off strong! Although it lost steam for me after halfway, it kept me interested and entertained from beginning to end. The writing was smooth, making it easy to fly through the chapters. I liked the characters but never felt connected or truly invested in them. For me, it was a matter of enjoying this as being a fun, escape read, not a gripping, believable one. It wasn’t as intense as I had expected, but it was a solid suspenseful story that I enjoyed escaping into. Overall, it was a good experience reading this author for the first time. Go into this one expecting a fast paced, unique, entertaining read. Nothing deep or gripping, but extremely easy to escape into and get lost in. Thank you to my lovely local library for the loan!

  5. 5 out of 5

    Marialyce (absltmom, yaya)

    A very interesting plot line makes for a ride on the wild side. Perhaps a person has wronged you in so many ways, that all you see that person is with eyes that are full of hatred. It does seem sometimes that many a guilty party goes scot free, and our ire at the injustice of the world gets the better of us. We are consumed with hate, enough so that we can't go forward and lose everything else that was once of value to us. It's been five years since the death of her daughter that Camille Gardener A very interesting plot line makes for a ride on the wild side. Perhaps a person has wronged you in so many ways, that all you see that person is with eyes that are full of hatred. It does seem sometimes that many a guilty party goes scot free, and our ire at the injustice of the world gets the better of us. We are consumed with hate, enough so that we can't go forward and lose everything else that was once of value to us. It's been five years since the death of her daughter that Camille Gardener has been grieving. She has cut herself off from her former husband, her friends, and things that could allow her to move beyond the tragedy that had occurred. Camille knows that the young boy who killed her daughter is free, a member of a privileged family, a boy who has it all. After all this time is there a way to extract revenge? When an invitation comes to join a secret, dark web group, that pledges to carry out acts of revenge in a clever and somewhat anonymous manner to those who escaped justice the first time, Camille decides to join. The question comes down to are these people carrying out a vigilante justice or are have they themselves become the very people they have pledged to hate? There are a number of plot holes, but overall it's a tense story that keeps the reader engaged from start to finish.

  6. 4 out of 5

    DeAnn

    4 Revenge Stars What are your thoughts on justice and vengeance? Do you agree that murderers should be murdered themselves? Or does our criminal system usually do the right thing and criminals get the punishment they need through that system? Would you feel differently if it was a family member who had suffered, perhaps was even killed? What would you be willing to do? This book explores those concepts, especially for mothers who have lost their children to crime, often violent crime. A chat room 4 Revenge Stars What are your thoughts on justice and vengeance? Do you agree that murderers should be murdered themselves? Or does our criminal system usually do the right thing and criminals get the punishment they need through that system? Would you feel differently if it was a family member who had suffered, perhaps was even killed? What would you be willing to do? This book explores those concepts, especially for mothers who have lost their children to crime, often violent crime. A chat room on the dark web gives these women the opportunity to vent, to write about their fantasies for making perpetrators pay for their crimes. And even act on those fantasies. We meet Camille, whose teen daughter died five years ago. The alleged perpetrator was never tried or punished for his crimes and Camille is becoming increasingly obsessed with destroying him. Soon, Camille is introduced to “The Collective” chat group and is sucked into spending hours interacting with the other women. Everyone in the group is anonymous and identified only by a number. Camille receives a message asking if she’s really serious about seeking vengeance and the darker parts of the book begin. This complex web has each woman completing small tasks to prove their worth. Camille isn’t sure if there’s an end game or just doing things to gain more trust in the group. This one built to a stunning conclusion that I did not see coming although most of the clues were there for me. There’s some part of me that cheers the thought of vigilante justice, but this book makes me rethink that! I think this would make an excellent book club book and would lead to a lively discussion! Thank you to Scene of the Crime/William Morrow Custom House and NetGalley for a copy of this one to read. Available today!

  7. 4 out of 5

    Derek

    The Collective is a killer good story (see what I did there ha... please don't unfriend me). But seriously, this was an engrossing story that explores the moral justification of revenge killing. I thought this was going to be more of a fist pumping, adrenaline-fueled revenge gratification read. But boy was I wrong. Although the plot does feel a little popcorn thriller at times, and it will certainly make a great movie, the author still delivers a thought-provoking story that will have you recalib The Collective is a killer good story (see what I did there ha... please don't unfriend me). But seriously, this was an engrossing story that explores the moral justification of revenge killing. I thought this was going to be more of a fist pumping, adrenaline-fueled revenge gratification read. But boy was I wrong. Although the plot does feel a little popcorn thriller at times, and it will certainly make a great movie, the author still delivers a thought-provoking story that will have you recalibrating your moral compass. This is twisty. And the best part is there are clues galore! Very clever weaving of plot details. It's possible to get to the ending but there are many red herrings along the way. I love love love the ending, but I'm seeing many early reviewers did not. My only real complaint is that I never got a good feel for who Camille was. Some of her decisions seemed in opposition of what I thought I knew about her. A lot of her choices were just convenient for the plot to move in a particular direction. 4.5 stars, rounding down. November 2021 BOTM If you're a The Bachelor fan, then you'll probably love all The Bachelor side talk. And there was plenty. It was all over my head though 😊

  8. 5 out of 5

    MicheleReader

    It’s been five years since Camille Gardener’s fifteen-year-old daughter Emily was murdered. While attending a frat party at nearby Brayburn College in upstate New York, Emily was taken to the woods by seventeen-year-old Harris Blanchard. There, after a night of drinking, he raped her and left her to die. Blanchard was acquitted after his wealthy parents’ lawyers painted Emily as a wild party girl. Camille cannot move her life ahead from this tragedy. She is now divorced. When Blanchard is given It’s been five years since Camille Gardener’s fifteen-year-old daughter Emily was murdered. While attending a frat party at nearby Brayburn College in upstate New York, Emily was taken to the woods by seventeen-year-old Harris Blanchard. There, after a night of drinking, he raped her and left her to die. Blanchard was acquitted after his wealthy parents’ lawyers painted Emily as a wild party girl. Camille cannot move her life ahead from this tragedy. She is now divorced. When Blanchard is given a humanitarian award by Brayburn, she is compelled to attend and cannot control herself at the ceremony. While there, she is approached by a woman who gives her a card about an online group of grieving mothers who have similarly lost children and their murderers never paid for their crimes. What appears to be a harmless Facebook group of women seeking support evolves into a dark web meeting place for mothers seeking true revenge and justice. At first Camille does not believe that the group (The Collective) truly intends on carrying out each mother’s violent fantasy for revenge. But she soon sees how serious the group is and once she’s pledged to be a part of the group’s plans, it might be too late to turn back. Author Alison Gaylin has created a very dark and tense story that sucked me into this compelling story. There are some very good twists and turns as the rage escalates. Many thanks to William Morrow | Custom House | HarperCollins, Scene of the Crime and NetGalley for the opportunity to read The Collective in advance of its November 2, 2021 publication date. Review posted on MicheleReader.com.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Rachel Feryus

    How big is the collective? How much do they know? The idea behind this book was pretty fascinating to me. Grief can do terrible things to people, so it wasn’t that far-fetched of a plot to have a group of women who have lost children create a revenge group on the dark web. Although if there actually are any for real, I hope they are slightly less insidious and far-reaching than this one, the idea of people being everywhere and anonymous is preeeetty creepy. In terms of reasons for plotting murder How big is the collective? How much do they know? The idea behind this book was pretty fascinating to me. Grief can do terrible things to people, so it wasn’t that far-fetched of a plot to have a group of women who have lost children create a revenge group on the dark web. Although if there actually are any for real, I hope they are slightly less insidious and far-reaching than this one, the idea of people being everywhere and anonymous is preeeetty creepy. In terms of reasons for plotting murder though, their motivation seems the most sympathetic. While I certainly don’t condone murder, a group of grieving mothers makes for a fascinating group of characters. Of course, the subject matter is pretty dark and gets pretty messy. The idea of meting out fatal judgments and all the grey areas of humanity that tie into that. What makes someone a truly bad person, and how do you decide they actually deserve to die? How well do you really know anyone? We start with our protagonist Camille, who is barely functional and so full of anger toward the man she holds responsible for the death of her daughter 5 years earlier. Seeing her struggle with her feelings/sense of morality and the influence from this group of women throughout the book as things escalate is riveting and heart-wrenching. For me, this was less of a thriller (although it was *very* thrilling) and more of a fast-paced character study. It’s hard not to focus on what’s going on in Camille’s head the most. She works through so much from the beginning to the end. The mystery of the group leader, their utter and unsettling control and influence also had me on the edge of my seat. The tension was really there all the way to the end, I l couldn’t put it down. This book was well-written and executed with compassion. Definitely recommend, although emotionally it was a bit of a tough one.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Frank Phillips

    The Collective was an incredibly enjoyable tale of suspense that also really pulled at my heartstrings in a memorable way. I don’t recall reading a book that’s made me tear up in sadness one chapter, only to have me at the edge of my seat full of suspense the next! I'm fairly certain this will go down as one of my favorite thrillers of 2021! Prior to reading this novel, I’d never read an Alison Gaylin book. Now that I know she’s got the goods to garner a 5-Star rating from me, I will be going bac The Collective was an incredibly enjoyable tale of suspense that also really pulled at my heartstrings in a memorable way. I don’t recall reading a book that’s made me tear up in sadness one chapter, only to have me at the edge of my seat full of suspense the next! I'm fairly certain this will go down as one of my favorite thrillers of 2021! Prior to reading this novel, I’d never read an Alison Gaylin book. Now that I know she’s got the goods to garner a 5-Star rating from me, I will be going back and reading her previous work. At the beginning of this novel, we meet Camille Garner, a grieving and incredibly angry mother who lost her daughter five years earlier to what she believes was murder. Unfortunately for her, the authorities, public and media did not agree with her, writing her daughter’s death off as another tragic accidental teenage death. Her daughter, who had been drinking that night, was in the company of a privileged young college student, only to allegedly wander off campus and into the surrounding forest, pass out and succumb to the elements by the time she was discovered the next day. There were indications she’d had a sexual encounter, however the student alleged it was consensual, so no crime had been committed. Camille believes this to be a lie and is still obsessed with the young man she believes is directly responsible all these years later. Her actions have inevitably gone viral and attracted the attention of a secret group of women – called The Collective. At first, Camille finds this select group of grieving women as a forum and haven to share her unfiltered emotions with, until her fantasies of revenge are actually carried out in real life one day. As a result, Camille learns she’s indebted to the group and must follow through on her assigned acts of vengeance, resulting in the death of several evil men. Men that assuredly deserve to pay for their crimes. Or do they? Are the women of The Collective truly avenging angels, or something more? Are they in fact the evil ones? If so, can Camille find a way out of this group, or is she in too deep? I loved how this one played out! In addition to loving all of the characters, I never thought it would end the way it did and literally gasped out loud as I read the final pages! The combination of heart-wrenching tales of loss followed by acts of vengeance really had my emotions all over the place throughout this lightening-paced read! Of course, one may have to suspend their disbelief while reading this, but if that’s not an issue then this is the book for you! What a wonderful way to begin the last quarter of 2021, an excellent year of reading! Now that she's on my radar, I'm excited to see what Gaylin comes up with next!!

  11. 4 out of 5

    Alafair Burke

    The Collective is your next addiction: A diabolically clever thriller filled with spine-tingling twists, it’s also a psychologically rich exploration of vengeance and justice. I can’t stop thinking about this book. One of the best of the year.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Kristy

    Camille Gardner lost her daughter five years ago and is still angry and grieving. After a public incident, she joins a Facebook group for grieving mothers. From there, Camille is drawn into the dark web and a collective of women who seek revenge on those who killed their children. Unsure if this group is real or not, Camille finds herself pulled into the group, unsure if its members are survivors or murderers. And finding out the truth may lead to her own demise. This was such a dark thriller--i Camille Gardner lost her daughter five years ago and is still angry and grieving. After a public incident, she joins a Facebook group for grieving mothers. From there, Camille is drawn into the dark web and a collective of women who seek revenge on those who killed their children. Unsure if this group is real or not, Camille finds herself pulled into the group, unsure if its members are survivors or murderers. And finding out the truth may lead to her own demise. This was such a dark thriller--it pulled me in immediately. It's twisted and a little crazy in its plot, but it's so mesmerizing and keeps you guessing the entire time. Camille's grief and anger seeps through the pages, and the themes of loss and motherhood are prominent throughout the story. It's such a tense tale, as you keep reading and wondering, along with Camille, about the collective and its intentions. The book makes you question yourself and how far would you go to protect or avenge your family. Overall, this is a twisty and dark thriller with an original and emotional plot. 4+ stars. I received a copy of this book from William Morrow and Custom House and Netgalley in return for an unbiased review. Blog ~ Twitter ~ Facebook ~ Smashbomb ~ Instagram

  13. 4 out of 5

    Mandy White (mandylovestoread)

    The Collective was definitely a #bookstagrammademedoit I was seeing it everywhere and after hearing Renee @itsbooktalk gush about it and say that she binged it in a day on audiobook, I used one of my precious credits and downloaded it. And it was totally worth it. I binged it in a day as well, after thinking I would just listen to a few chapters. The story had me hooked from the start, and who doesn't love a revenge story. The narrator, Laurel Lefkow was fantastic and really brought the story to l The Collective was definitely a #bookstagrammademedoit I was seeing it everywhere and after hearing Renee @itsbooktalk gush about it and say that she binged it in a day on audiobook, I used one of my precious credits and downloaded it. And it was totally worth it. I binged it in a day as well, after thinking I would just listen to a few chapters. The story had me hooked from the start, and who doesn't love a revenge story. The narrator, Laurel Lefkow was fantastic and really brought the story to life for me. How far would you go for revenge? Camille Gardner has been grieving the death of her daughter for 5 years. Her marriage has broken down and she can't stop thinking about bringing the man she believes to be responsible down. When she joins The Collective, an online group of mothers out for justice on the dark web, she has to ask herself how far is too far. How much does she want him gone? It is dark and disturbing and has an ending that really shocked me. It was clever and unexpected and worked so well. You have to read this book!

  14. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

    Brutal, raw, and beautifully wrought THE COLLECTIVE is top drawer psychological suspense. A mother’s grief ignites into rage, leading her down a dark, twisting, dangerous road to a certain brand of justice. Alison Gaylin doesn’t pull a single punch in this layered, engrossing, and nerve shattering thriller where wrong is right and revenge is a dish served white hot.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Jenny Lawson

    A twisty psychological thriller about grief and revenge.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Renee (itsbooktalk)

    4.5 audio was excellent

  17. 5 out of 5

    A.M. Rose

    I’m not going to write a synopsis of the book because enough reviews do that. What I will give is a quick run down of my opinions. Pros: * Stellar concept! Seriously I was in from the back cover copy. * Excellent writing. The narrative is well done and really sucks you in quickly. * Characters are real and compelling Cons: * It does take a hot minute to get going. Which isn’t horrible because it is a nice read but the tension doesn’t really hit until the second half. * I had an idea where the tw I’m not going to write a synopsis of the book because enough reviews do that. What I will give is a quick run down of my opinions. Pros: * Stellar concept! Seriously I was in from the back cover copy. * Excellent writing. The narrative is well done and really sucks you in quickly. * Characters are real and compelling Cons: * It does take a hot minute to get going. Which isn’t horrible because it is a nice read but the tension doesn’t really hit until the second half. * I had an idea where the twist was going even if I didn’t completely nail it * Not a fan of the ending. Tbh I found it disappointing. But that’s my opinion so judge for yourself. All in all a good read and worth the time.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Whitney Erwin

    So, I don’t really know what to think of this book. The book was interesting and suspenseful enough to keep reading but it is just dumb. The book doesn’t feel like it has much of a point or meaning behind it. I hated the ending. Wouldn’t recommend to anyone.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Laurie

    This is the first book I've read by this award-winning author and it was a great introduction! In this riveting story of loss and revenge, Gaylin checks all the boxes that make for a terrific thriller: excellent writing, pacing that only allows one to catch one's breath before taking off again and twists thrown in at just the right time to keep the reader on their heels. Meet Camille Gardner. She is a grieving mother whose daughter died five years ago and she has yet to come to grips with the lo This is the first book I've read by this award-winning author and it was a great introduction! In this riveting story of loss and revenge, Gaylin checks all the boxes that make for a terrific thriller: excellent writing, pacing that only allows one to catch one's breath before taking off again and twists thrown in at just the right time to keep the reader on their heels. Meet Camille Gardner. She is a grieving mother whose daughter died five years ago and she has yet to come to grips with the loss. Believing a well-connected young man got away with murdering her daughter, Camille haunts him and believes she would do anything to make him pay. She confronts him at at a ceremony where he is being honored and makes such a spectacle of herself that she draws the attention of a secret group of like-minded grieving women. This online collective share stories of loss with graphic depictions of revenge on those they think were not sufficiently punished. Camille has finally found an outlet for her anger, but when one of the targets for revenge actually turns up dead Camille begins to wonder if she has stumbled onto something more than an outlet for venting her anger. She is drawn deeper and deeper into this group on the dark web and begins to lose her perspective of right and wrong, healing versus revenge. Although the book seemed to start off a little slow, it was necessary background work for the rocket ride that followed. I devoured this book in a couple of days as I just couldn't put it down and once I did, I found myself trying to figure out what direction the author was going to take. The story twists are shocking and I know the ending will stay with me for quite a while. Thank you NetGalley and William Morrow for an advance copy of this book. The publication date is November 2, 2021.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Larry H

    4.5 stars Nothing quite says Christmas like a revenge story, you know? That's why I was all in for Alison Gaylin's new thriller, The Collective . Camille hasn’t been the same since her teenage daughter was raped and murdered five years ago. Although she has a graphic design business, she spends much of her time obsessing over the young man who was accused of, and then exonerated for, her murder. When she captures the attention of the Collective, a secret group of grieving mothers who come toget 4.5 stars Nothing quite says Christmas like a revenge story, you know? That's why I was all in for Alison Gaylin's new thriller, The Collective . Camille hasn’t been the same since her teenage daughter was raped and murdered five years ago. Although she has a graphic design business, she spends much of her time obsessing over the young man who was accused of, and then exonerated for, her murder. When she captures the attention of the Collective, a secret group of grieving mothers who come together on the dark web to share their stories, their all-encompassing grief, and their rage toward those unpunished for their children’s deaths. The women talk about their desire for revenge, for enacting retribution in specific, grisly detail. She thinks this is just an exercise in group therapy, but the more time she spends among these women, she starts to wonder if they are actually enacting the revenge scenarios they discuss. Suddenly she feels free of the burdens she’s been carrying. “I’m willing to commit to this role-play, to believe in it when I haven’t believed in anything at all for the past five years. I’m willing to work my hardest to get every one of these steps to-the-letter-right because of the way this all makes me feel—as though my rage has a purpose. As though I have the power to kill, and I’m no longer alone.” The deeper she gets in this group, the more she questions whether revenge is actually justified. But once she’s in the middle of it all, can she extricate herself from the group or will that prove dangerous? I’m a huge fan of Gaylin's writing, and this book was both addicting and thought-provoking. I didn’t love the ending, but I couldn’t get enough of the story. Thanks to William Morrow Books for the complimentary copy of the book in exchange for an unbiased review! See all of my reviews at itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com. Follow me on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/the.bookishworld.of.yrralh/.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Javier

    4,5 ⭐️ If you’ve been following me for some time you’ll already know I absolutely love female revenge stories, and The Collective is a story about female revenge raised to the umpteenth power! Paraphrasing Elphaba from Wicked “Unlimited, together we’re unlimited […..] If we work in tandem there’s no fight we cannot win”. (extra points if you’ve read that line singing it!).   Camille is a grieving mother who can’t move past her daughter’s death. The man responsible was exonerated but she still belie 4,5 ⭐️ If you’ve been following me for some time you’ll already know I absolutely love female revenge stories, and The Collective is a story about female revenge raised to the umpteenth power! Paraphrasing Elphaba from Wicked “Unlimited, together we’re unlimited […..] If we work in tandem there’s no fight we cannot win”. (extra points if you’ve read that line singing it!).   Camille is a grieving mother who can’t move past her daughter’s death. The man responsible was exonerated but she still believes him guilty so, when she’s approached by a mysterious woman about a grief support group, she soon finds herself drawn into a secret group of grieving women called The Collective, whose mutual rage will make them seek out their own kind of justice.   I was immediately hooked from the start. I listened to the audiobook and the narration was fantastic. I could feel Camille’s despair and rage in Vivienne Leheny’s interpretation.   Although it started a bit slow (necessary to establish where Camille was coming from), once she makes contact with The Collective, things didn’t stop moving until the very end. And what and end! As she’s assigned different tasks and finds herself drawn deeper into the organitation, she starts questioning some of their methods, what led to some tense moments I really enjoyed (once again I think the audio made these even better).   There were several twists I didn’t see coming, but the biggest one was right at the end. I was totally blindsided! I was not expecting that at all! I guess it will not appeal to everyone but it’s one I will surely remember for a long time to come.   Super fast and enjoyable read that presents some interesting questions about justice, revenge and that fine line that separates them and that will definitely make you think.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Misha (Heartsfullofreads)

    I jumped right on board with this one! Camille led us on a crazy adventure Where she made terrible decisions in the name of revenge! We seriously don't have enough female villains. I enjoyed watching it all unfold and finding out who actually led the collective. What a smart, diabolical woman! The middle drug for me and I got a little annoyed with seeing Camille do incredibly stupid things. This is a GROUP OF WOMEN WHO KILL PEOPLE. Fast-paced, addicting from the beginning, and an awesome mystery a I jumped right on board with this one! Camille led us on a crazy adventure Where she made terrible decisions in the name of revenge! We seriously don't have enough female villains. I enjoyed watching it all unfold and finding out who actually led the collective. What a smart, diabolical woman! The middle drug for me and I got a little annoyed with seeing Camille do incredibly stupid things. This is a GROUP OF WOMEN WHO KILL PEOPLE. Fast-paced, addicting from the beginning, and an awesome mystery at it's core. A great thrilling read even with that weird middle part!

  23. 5 out of 5

    Kellye

    Y'all this book was sooooo good. The writing. The characters. The plot. The author manages to take a high concept idea (a collective of grieving mothers who enact their own revenge on their children's murderers when the law lets them down) but in a very believable way. The character (and the circumstances) feel real, everything from their feelings of rage (who hasn't had fantasies of revenge) to the idea that not everyone is all good or all bad. And I was not expecting that ending at all. I read Y'all this book was sooooo good. The writing. The characters. The plot. The author manages to take a high concept idea (a collective of grieving mothers who enact their own revenge on their children's murderers when the law lets them down) but in a very believable way. The character (and the circumstances) feel real, everything from their feelings of rage (who hasn't had fantasies of revenge) to the idea that not everyone is all good or all bad. And I was not expecting that ending at all. I read it in 24 hours.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Brenda ~Traveling Sister Book Reviews

    Five years after Camille's daughter is killed at a fraternity party, the young man responsible lives a privileged life without ever being brought to justice. Camille is obsessed with grief and anger. She attracts the attention of a secret group of women," the collective," and is drawn into the darkest corners of the internet, the dark web where mothers who have lost their children due to the actions of others share their rage and desire for justice without mercy. Things turn dark when Camille is Five years after Camille's daughter is killed at a fraternity party, the young man responsible lives a privileged life without ever being brought to justice. Camille is obsessed with grief and anger. She attracts the attention of a secret group of women," the collective," and is drawn into the darkest corners of the internet, the dark web where mothers who have lost their children due to the actions of others share their rage and desire for justice without mercy. Things turn dark when Camille is asked to complete some tasks, unaware of why and things turn deadly. Things I loved Alison Gaylin boldly explores the darker side of grief, playing on our heartstrings while blurring the lines with the desire for revenge, making this a dark, uncomfortable, and engaging revenge thriller. Camille's pain and anger felt so real and contagious. Alison Gaylin adds a unique spin to tropes of obsession by exploring grieving mothers as avengers. She plays on their grief and obsession with the person responsible for their children's death, creating a great sense of dread and a thought-provoking, emotionally-charged page-turner. I enjoyed trying to piece the clever well-plotted tasks Camille was asked to complete and why. I questioned along with Camille whether the women were avenging angels or monsters. It all comes together brilliantly, unpredictably, and unexpectedly. What I didn't love as much While I thought the story's climax was exciting with escalating stakes and wrapped up in a twisty way, the motivation didn't pack the punch I was looking for. I received a copy from the publisher on EW

  25. 4 out of 5

    Shannon Jump

    Boy, am I happy with my November Book of the Month selection! I quickly found myself immersed in this highly addictive thriller. The prose, the pacing, the plot…all the p’s were there! Definitely recommend this one! NOTABLE QUOTES: “…life is mostly pain, with moments of happiness thrown in just to keep us vertical.” “The thing with the truth, it hides in plain sight. It crouches in corners and pounces—but you have to look at it first.”

  26. 4 out of 5

    BernLuvsBooks

    Love this revenge based psychological thriller! 4.5 stars How far will a grieving mother go to avenge her daughter's death? Loved the vigilante justice concept of this book and it was certainly a fast paced, unputdownable read. Don't go into this book expecting believability. It's a thrill ride, full of unbelievable actions and twists. What a conclusion too! This one definitely had me pondering what I'd be willing to do, for the sake of my daughters. This is dark, disturbing and will mess with yo Love this revenge based psychological thriller! 4.5 stars How far will a grieving mother go to avenge her daughter's death? Loved the vigilante justice concept of this book and it was certainly a fast paced, unputdownable read. Don't go into this book expecting believability. It's a thrill ride, full of unbelievable actions and twists. What a conclusion too! This one definitely had me pondering what I'd be willing to do, for the sake of my daughters. This is dark, disturbing and will mess with your head. I couldn't get enough of this one!

  27. 5 out of 5

    Basic B's Guide

    Revenge can be a slippery slope. A solid entertaining story that had me until the ending. I’m still a little perplexed why it was wrapped up that way. 3.5 rounded up. Thank you Harper Audio for the gifted alc.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Danielle B

    Camille Gardner has lost her fifteen year old daughter, Emily. After five years of grieving, her accused killer, Harris Blanchard, is still living his life and never paid the consequences. Camille is disgusted to learn that Harris is being given a humanitarian award at his school, she attends the award ceremony and has a break down that is recorded on video. Camille soon learns there are others out there that have had been wronged, just like her, and want justice and revenge. She secretly joins Camille Gardner has lost her fifteen year old daughter, Emily. After five years of grieving, her accused killer, Harris Blanchard, is still living his life and never paid the consequences. Camille is disgusted to learn that Harris is being given a humanitarian award at his school, she attends the award ceremony and has a break down that is recorded on video. Camille soon learns there are others out there that have had been wronged, just like her, and want justice and revenge. She secretly joins a group called, The Collective. Everything about this group is shrouded in mystery and Camille soon learns why. A brilliant novel written by Alison Gaylin. The plot was well thought out and executed perfectly, I found myself turning the pages quickly. The ending was not what I thought and I always like being surprised. Overall, an exceptional novel that I would highly recommend. Many thanks to NetGalley and William Morrow for my ARC in exchange for my honest review. This review will be posted to my Instagram Blog (@coffee.break.book.reviews) in the near future.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Jeanette

    This book made me dither for almost one whole day. Between 3 or 4 stars. It is fully 3.5 stars. But after some pondering to specifics I can't round it up. The premise was not unique. I've heard the collaboration for revenge tale dozens of times in print, in film, in observation at that. But to this extent, it was still outlier. That's the crux difficulty though. All cabals of such size will implode. That large quantity of members never being able to in several ways (not just verbally) keep the ins This book made me dither for almost one whole day. Between 3 or 4 stars. It is fully 3.5 stars. But after some pondering to specifics I can't round it up. The premise was not unique. I've heard the collaboration for revenge tale dozens of times in print, in film, in observation at that. But to this extent, it was still outlier. That's the crux difficulty though. All cabals of such size will implode. That large quantity of members never being able to in several ways (not just verbally) keep the inside in and the "outside" out. Cognition demands complex criteria over time to break it up. All cabals- even the largest and also the most insular secretive or abusive angry will eat themselves. Even governments. But in this study the value or equivalency of "justice" itself is analyzed and defined. Not in simplistic ways either. Where is the "eye for an eye" not really about the eye at all but the entire head? That's the type of question this "what's it all about, Alfie" wider and effusive/destructive core is seated. So the form is at least average, maybe above average in the reality of conversations/ dialogue. But all the same the very chronological time line details of these peoples' lives don't for placements or for reality of movements (driving, time away from "others" etc.) seem very realistic or practical application doable either. Not even in an age where insular lockdowns or other modes of singularity living are more at odds to happen. With so many people being far more the "free agents" of movement "noticed"? Real and vile injustice happens. All of those posited core responses to victims are exactly what the book states they are. Kind and dogmatic words or form? It's minutia equations to no purpose or any true means to succoring for the bereft and forever changed. That's the truth. Do I know. The ending was exactly what I thought it would be. And I foresaw at least two characters roles in truth that were not revealed until that ending. And I truly doubt Camille would not have seen them too more than she did. The reading pace was quick and I didn't feel the drag of the beginning at all as others said they did. This is one book suggested to me for which I did read some reviews during the read myself. You need to be a particularly faithless (not only in God, but nature/karma, what goes around/comes around too) person to agreed with all these character conclusions about what is bs for forgiving. And totally blind to its advantages, as well. I'm not either- so this book was pitiful at core to me in some regards of judgments. And I have been a victim myself enough to know why and how much to forgive. Or smite in retribution. But considering the current state of what is "thriller" now in print- at least this does have a recognition of there being such a thing as conscience. Not always true in current definitions for that genre. Or in media or real life observable actions either. All conditions and violations being redefined to nearly opposite actual quantities, outcomes, or detail aspects that used to be the crux- by the bias of the judger or "authority" media. Vile actions becoming subjectively redefined in the process. It's a slick book. But really, not all that unique. Such acts in either short, middle or long term- will immolate self and cabal too. Eventually. This extent it would be shortly. Sicilians know how this works.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Madeline (always_reading1)

    This was addicting!! I went in totally blind like I usually do and it exceeded my expectations.

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