Plot: This story is fast-paced, very detailed, and packed with action. Saleh offers a fine blend of science and mystery to deliver an entertaining and smart narrative. The resolution is somewhat rushed, but this will only make readers eager for future installments.
Prose/Style: Saleh's writing style is clear, immediate, and cinematic. Readers will feel immediately immersed in the events as they unfold.
Originality: This story's science elements allow the work to stand apart. Though Leigh falling for one of her bodyguards is not surprising, the romantic choice she ultimately makes offers an intriguing twist.
Character Development/Execution: The characters are consistent throughout the story, and are provided with backstories that provide them depth and dimension.
Date Submitted: June 08, 2021
Saleh skillfully mines that fruitful “who can you trust?” hook from beginning to end, dazzling readers with twists, turns, and an ending they won’t see coming. Along the way, she creates a heroine worth rooting for and a host of supporting characters in various shades of gray, a nod to the fact that few people are completely perfect or completely evil (especially Andrew and Sam, the hired assassin.) By depicting these shades, and crafting full characters rather than stock types, Saleh makes readers truly care what happens to her cast.
Saleh also proves adept at keeping the red herrings coming, which keep the story engaging and surprising until the last page. A few editing clunkers distract, as do the uninspired scene-setting photographs that open each chapter, but the author’s deft plotting, perfect pacing, and shrewd sense of people will help readers overlook those issues. Readers who love thrillers will devour Saleh’s irresistible, multi-layered tale and hope for more—which the author seems to tease in her afterword.
Takeaway: Saleh’s initial foray into thrillers will delight readers who enjoy suspenseful, twisty stories.
Great for fans of: Michael Connelly, Harlan Coben, Gillian Flynn.
Design and typography: B
Marketing copy: A