Publish Date: September 10, 2019
“Give me one name. One person. And I will make them disappear. For you.” — 29 Seconds
Sarah is a young professor struggling to prove herself in a workplace controlled by the charming and manipulative Alan Hawthorne, a renowned scholar and television host. The beloved professor rakes in million-dollar grants for the university where Sarah works—so his inappropriate treatment of female colleagues behind closed doors has gone unchallenged for years. And Sarah is his newest target.
When Hawthorne’s advances become threatening, she’s left with nowhere to turn. Until the night she witnesses an attempted kidnapping of a young child on her drive home, and impulsively jumps in to intervene. The child’s father turns out to be a successful businessman with dangerous connections—and her act of bravery has put this powerful man in her debt. He lives by his own brutal code, and all debts must be repaid. In the only way he knows how. The man gives Sarah a burner phone and an unbelievable offer. A once-in-a-lifetime deal that can make all her problems disappear.
No consequences. No traces. No chance of being found out. All it takes is a 29-second phone call.
Because everyone has a name to give. Don’t they?
T.M. Logan is a master at suspense building books with a thriller vibe. I loved his previous book, Lies (my review here) so when I heard that he was publishing a new book, I had to get my hands on it. Thank you to St. Martin’s Press for the advanced copy.
Sarah is trapped in an dire workplace situation where her male boss Alan Hawthorne is sexually harassing her. The writing is so good that it made me feel many emotions at what Sarah had to go through: anger, frustration, sadness, fear, stress, powerless, entrapment. It definitely creates the #MeToo feeling.
Sexual harassment is NO JOKE. We hear about it a lot, but the author writes it in a way that made me feel like I was experiencing it directly. It was very creepy. And the man doing this to our protagonist Sarah is awful, vile, manipulative… pretty much a psycho! I loathed him, and it made me understand how Sarah could make that phone call.
The plot has a thought-provoking woman vs. herself struggle. I wondered many times what I would do in Sarah’s situation. I rooted for Sarah to overcome her fears and insecurities, and become a stronger character. She makes a few bad decisions, but who doesn’t IRL? The book starts off slowly, but then steps on the gas and throws in many twists and turns. It’s highly entertaining.
Not many men in the book are portrayed in a positive light with the exception of Sarah’s father. I found that to be an interesting spin, along with Sarah’s relationship with her estranged husband. There are a few likeable characters in this story but definitely more unlikeable ones.
My favorite quotes:
“Legal, illegal, who decides such things? The law is just a crutch for people who are too weak, lazy, or stupid to carve out their own place in the world.”
“Of course she had a name to give him. Everyone had a name to give, didn’t they?”
“Vertigo is the fear that when you are standing on the edge, you won’t be able to resist the urge to step off.”
“Act as if your deal with the devil didn’t just pay off.”
This book is about sexual harassment, power, decisions, regrets, justice, betrayal, revenge, and consequences. It’s an edge-of-your-seat thriller and unputdownable. For most of the story I felt that Sarah would never get ahead of the situation, but the ending was good and gave closure.
Plan on blocking out a big chunk of time once you start reading, because you won’t be able to put this book down. It’s definitely binge worthy.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Note: I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.