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The Hand That Feeds You (Book Review)

Author:  A.J. Rich

Publisher: Scribner (Simon & Schuster Canada)

Genre: Fiction, Psychological Thriller, Suspense

Release Date: July 7th 2015

Page Count: 288

Format: Paperback (ARC)

ISBN: 9781476774589

Author Website | Pre-Order on Amazon Goodreads

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Firstly, I would like to thank Simon & Schuster Canada for sending me this ARC in exchange for a review. This is the first book that has ever been sent to me by a publisher and I am extremely grateful!

Goodreads Synopsis: From celebrated authors Amy Hempel and Jill Ciment writing as A.J. Rich, a smart, thrilling, sexy, and emotionally riveting novel of psychological suspense about an accomplished woman involved with a man who proves to be an imposter. Morgan Prager, at age thirty, is completing her thesis on victim psychology at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in Manhattan. She is newly engaged to Bennett, a seductive but possessive and secretive man. She returns from class one day to find Bennett mauled to death, and her dogs, a Great Pyrenees and two pit bulls she has rescued, covered in blood. Bewildered and devastated that her dogs could have committed such violence, she worries that she might suffer from one of the syndromes she studies: pathological altruism, when selfless acts do more damage than good. When Morgan tries to locate Bennett’s parents to tell them about their son’s hideous death, she discovers he was not the man he said he was. Everything he has told her, where he was born, where he lives and works, was a lie. In fact, he has several fiancees, and fits the clinical definition of a sociopath. And then, one by one, these other women are murdered. Suddenly Morgan’s research into Bennett takes on the urgency of survival: to stay alive, she must find out who is killing the women Bennett was closest to. Unsettling and highly suspenseful, this is a brilliant collaboration between two outstanding writers.

The Hand That Feeds You by A.J. Rich wasted no time getting right into the suspenseful feel of a psychological thriller. The story starts right away with Morgan walking into her home to discover her dead fiancee, Bennett, mauled by her own dogs.

The writing style was very fast paced which I am grateful for. I love a good psychological thriller, but I find that quite a few of them tend to drag on and play with the reader a little too much before getting to the “shock” or “twist”. This story was quick in getting to the action and the thrill of a suspense. As fast paced as the story was though, it was a little sloppy at times. I found that it didn’t flow very well at some moments. This could be because there are two authors who combined their writing techniques to write this novel.

Morgan was a great change in terms of a main character in a psychological thriller than what I’ve been used to reading recently. In comparison to novels like The Girl On The Train or anything written by Gillian Flynn, Morgan was very likeable which is the exact opposite of the characters in the previously mentioned stories. Morgan was overall a good person, maybe a little too nice and kindhearted for her own good. We learn right away that she is a student working on her thesis about pathological altruism. Although we get to learn about her and her past, there was one particular flashback between her and another couple that I found a bit misplaced and unneeded. As the story goes on we learn more about her murdered fiancee, Bennett, and the truth behind the lies that he has been telling Morgan. The minor characters, McKenzie, Steven and Billie as well as some of Bennett’s other secret fiancees, added more depth to the story and also more possible suspects for the reader to choose from which is always fun.

Pretty much all of the psychological thrillers I have read have some sort of twist that is meant to shock the reader and catch us by surprise. A majority of my reasoning behind why I gave this novel a 3.5 out of 5 stars was because of my lack of shock when the twist was presented. I found myself predicting what was going to happen before it did and I was correct. It wasn’t that shocking for me and my jaw definitely was not on the floor.

As fast paced as this story was, and as much as I enjoyed that aspect, I found that the ending was a tad rushed. With about 10 pages left, it was heading in the direction of Gone Girl with an ending that would have completely angered me, but instead it quickly changed once again, but a little too quickly with not enough detail. Maybe ending this story in the style of Gone Girl was the way to go, I think it would have made it far more memorable.

Overall this book was entertaining and fast paced. The writing style could have been better developed and the ending could have been a little more detailed and thought out. I was not bored at all while reading it, but I do wish that it shocked me a little bit more. Those who enjoyed stories such as The Girl On The Train, Gone Girl and Before I Go To Sleep will most likely enjoy The Hand That Feeds You.


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