When She Was Bad
by Tammy Cohen
YOU SEE THE PEOPLE YOU WORK WITH EVERY DAY.
BUT WHAT CAN’T YOU SEE?
Amira, Sarah, Paula, Ewan and Charlie have worked together for years – they know how each one likes their coffee, whose love life is a mess, whose children keep them up at night. But their comfortable routine life is suddenly shattered when an aggressive new boss walks in ….
Now, there’s something chilling in the air.
Who secretly hates everyone?
Who is tortured by their past?
Who is capable of murder?
There are two parts to this story. On the one hand we have the present day office-based story, where a group of co-workers are jolted out of their comfort zone by the arrival of a new manager, whose mission is to turn around the business, to this end she pits the staff against each other, exposing the dark underbelly of office politics, that a lot of people will recognise in one form or another. On the other hand we have child psychologist, Dr Anne Cater, watching a report of a crime that has been committed. She recognises the accused and we are taken back in time to when she was a junior and her first case involving child abuse towards two siblings.
I loved the writing in this book, Tammy Cohen draws you in with a brilliant first paragraph:
Imagine we could see the damage inside ourselves. Imagine it showed through us like contraband in an airport scanner. What would it be like, to walk around the city with it all on view – all the hurts and the betrayals and the things that diminished us; all the crushed dreams and the broken hearts? What would it be like to see the people our lives have made us? The people we are, under our skin.
I really enjoyed the first half of this book, it had the feel of a really strong psychological thriller. The office setting was really clever and original. The alternating chapters from Anne’s point of view that gave insight into a horrific case of child abuse and the repercussions from it were strong and affecting.
As the story moved on I really couldn’t see where the connection for the two stories was going to be, and for me that was a problem. The disconnect between the two stories was too much and they felt shoe-horned together at the end. I didn’t feel it mattered who was killed or who did the killing.
Having said that I found the writing to be crisp and the characters well-drawn and I found there was lots to like about the book. I will definitely read other books by this author.
Many thanks to the publisher for sending me a copy via Netgalley