cover image The Herd

The Herd

Andrea Bartz. Ballantine, $27 (336p) ISBN 978-1-984826-36-7

Bartz (The Lost Night) crafts a smart, twisty thriller about a women’s co-working space and the mysterious disappearance of its charismatic founder. Freelance journalist Katie returns to New York after a year of unsuccessful book research in Michigan. Back in the city, she accepts an invitation from her adopted older sister, Hana, a publicist, into a high-powered social network of Harvard alums including waspy, elegant Eleanor, founder of the Herd, an exclusive workspace and club for women. While Katie waits for her Herd membership application to be processed, she pitches a biography/oral history of Eleanor and the Herd to her nagging agent, who needs something to show Katie’s editor. Just as Katie begins probing into the life and psyche of the notoriously private Eleanor, her subject disappears. As the search for Eleanor escalates, the tension of the narrative, which bounces back and forth between Katie and Hana, ratchets up with the threat of long-buried secrets being revealed. Though too many last-minute twists muddle an otherwise satisfying ending, Bartz is especially astute at highlighting the hypocrisy of glamorous careerist feminism. Readers won’t want to put this down. (Mar.)