cover image The Collective

The Collective

Alison Gaylin. Morrow, $27.99 (352p) ISBN 978-0-06-308315-8

Camille Gardener, the grief-stricken narrator of this gripping psychological thriller from Edgar winner Gaylin (If I Die Tonight), knows who raped her only child, Emily, at a Brayburn College frat party in upstate New York and left her to die in the woods one winter night. Five years after Emily’s accused killer, Harris Blanchard, was acquitted at trial, Camille attends a ceremony at Manhattan’s Brayburn Club, where Blanchard’s receiving a humanitarian award. Enraged that Blanchard will never suffer any consequences for his crime, Camille barely notices the two women observing her, until one passes her a card with one word on it: Niobe. When Camille seeks out Niobe (also known as the Collective), she enters the darkest corners of the internet, where mothers intent on punishing their children’s killers share their rage. At first, Camille eagerly participates in the real-world activities, like buying a hunting knife, assigned to her by the Collective, anxious to do unto killers as they had done to their victims. The tension rises when Camille puts her own life in peril by breaking one of the Collective’s rules. A breathtaking twist will catch readers by surprise. This tale of justice without mercy is a page-turner. Agent: Deborah Schneider, Gelfman Schneider Literary. (Nov.)