Published by Grand Central Publishing on August 23, 2022
Psychiatrist Imani Banks and her restaurateur husband Philip are living the New York City dream. They own a posh townhouse in Brooklyn Heights; their two children are standouts at their private school; and they are well-liked in their affluent community.
Tonya Sayre is living the New York City nightmare. After moving to Manhattan with dreams of becoming a Broadway star, she has found herself stuck in a waitressing job and struggling to support her teen daughter, Layla. She also fears Layla’s father, Brad, who is back in their life.
When Philip’s restaurant closes due to the lockdown, they decide to take on a renter and let the extra rooms to Tonya and Layla. As Tonya begins skipping payments, the tension with Imani grows. She becomes convinced that Tonya is a professional grifter who preys upon the sympathies of men to live rent free. She even thinks Tonya might have been involved in the shocking murders of the Walkers, a neighboring family.
But evicting someone during a pandemic is no easy feat. Imani soon finds herself stuck with a woman whom she believes to be a killer.
This sounded like a good thriller, but I spent most of the time I read it thinking about DNFing. So I didn’t love it, unfortunately.
This is a slowwwww burn. And I enjoy a slow burn when there’s a good payoff, but I didn’t feel that was the case here. There are a lot of different narrators and it takes a long time for their roles and connections to become clear, so for the first while I was confused and felt like there were too many characters to track initially, which surely contributed to my disinterest.
I liked the setting. The pandemic wasn’t included gratuitously; it influenced several characters’ choices and had a direct impact on their lives. But I thought the whodunnit was really obvious from the start, and by the end there was nothing in this story that surprised me or excited me.
So overall for me, this probably should have been a DNF. I just didn’t care for the characters and thought the story lacked any tension or mystery.