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  • Writer's pictureJudith D Collins

The Collective

By: Alison Gaylin

ISBN: 978-0063083158

Publisher: William Morrow

Publication Date: 11/02/2021

Format: Hardcover

Audiobook: Vivienne Leheny (Narrator), HarperAudio (Publisher)

My Rating: 4 Stars

The USA Today bestselling and Edgar Award–winning author of Never Look Back and If I Die Tonight plumbs the dark side of justice and the depths of diabolical revenge in this propulsive novel of psychological suspense that melds the driving narrative of Then She Was Gone with the breathtaking twists of The Chain and the violent fury of Kill Bill.

“Alison Gaylin’s The Collective is an astonishing feat. In the tradition of Ira Levin’s unforgettable social thrillers (Rosemary’s Baby, Stepford Wives), it’s a nerve-shredding, emotionally harrowing ride that also speaks volumes about our current moment, the dangers of our digital world, the potency of female rage. Don’t miss it.” —Megan Abbott

Just how far will a grieving mother go to right a tragic wrong?

Camille Gardener is a grieving—and angry—mother who, five years after her daughter’s death, is still obsessed with the privileged young man she believes to be responsible.

When her rash actions draw the attention of a secret group of women—the collective— Camille is drawn into a dark web where these mothers share their wildly different stories of loss as well as their desire for justice in a world where privilege denies accountability. Fueled by mutual rage, the collective members devise and act out retribution fantasies via precise, anonymous, highly coordinated revenge killings.

As Camille struggles to comprehend whether this is a role-playing exercise or terrifying reality, she must decide if these women are truly avenging angels or monsters. Becoming more deeply enmeshed in the group, Camille learns truths about the collective—and about herself—that she may not be able to survive

Buy the Book

An Amazon Best Book of November 2021: Alison Gaylin’s The Collective taps into a well of female rage and grief on the very first page and mines it relentlessly until the conclusion of this pulse-pounding novel. Five years after her daughter was assaulted and then left to die alone, Camille Gardner’s molten anger and howling grief are laser-focused on the rich kid who got away with the murder. The law has let her down and her marriage has collapsed in the face of pain and rage. But the dark web connects her with “the collective,” a group of mothers who plot to seize the justice denied to them by the law, privilege, and the patriarchy. Gaylin tackles bitterness, vigilantism, privilege, and social media thoughtfully, while the avenging angels (or are they demons?) keep the tension high in this emotional rollercoaster of a novel.

—Vannessa Cronin, Amazon Editor


“Alison Gaylin’s The Collective is an astonishing feat. In the tradition of Ira Levin’s unforgettable social thrillers (Rosemary’s Baby, Stepford Wives), it’s a nerve-shredding, emotionally harrowing ride that also speaks volumes about our current moment, the dangers of our digital world, the potency of female rage. Don’t miss it.”

-- Megan Abbott, national bestselling author of The Turnout

“Alison Gaylin's The Collective feels like the book of the moment, the year. Clever, compassionate and all too believable, it's a stunning achievement by one of my favorite writers

-- Laura Lippman, New York Times Bestselling Author of DREAM GIRL

“Alison Gaylin's The Collective is a dark and sinister ride that goes straight to the heart of revenge. Not just what it means, but what it costs. This is a highly entertaining, and terrifying, read."

-- Peter Swanson, New York Times bestselling author of Every Vow You Break

“Alison Gaylin’s The Collective is your next addiction: A diabolically clever thriller filled with spine-tingling twists, it’s also a psychologically rich exploration of vengeance and justice. I can’t stop thinking about this book.”

-- Alafair Burke, New York Times Bestselling Author of THE BETTER SISTER

"Brutal, raw, and beautifully wrought THE COLLECTIVE is psychological suspense of the first order. A mother’s grief ignites into rage, leading her down a dark, twisting, dangerous road to a certain brand of justice. Alison Gaylin doesn’t pull a single punch in this layered, engrossing, and nerve shattering thriller where wrong is right and revenge is a dish served white hot.”

-- Lisa Unger, New York Times bestselling author of CONFESSIONS ON THE 7:45

"The Collective is a propulsive, emotional conspiracy thriller powered by the all-consuming fire of maternal rage. Without pretty moralizing, Gaylin shows both the destruction and visceral satisfaction that come with revenge. I am a peaceful person, but also a mother, and I read the whole book with a killer's heart.”

-- Steph Cha, award-winning author of Your House Will Pay

“Aflame with tension, this intricate, powerful thriller rips a tunnel into a past as deep and dark as the midnight sky.”

-- A. J. Finn, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Woman in the Window, on Never Look Back

“Nothing is as it seems in Gaylin’s addictive, shape-shifting thriller... a twisty-turny plot that will sizzle your summer.”

-- People (Included in “The Best New Books”), on Never Look Back

“Mystery and true crime aficionados will delight in piecing together the puzzle in Edgar winner Gaylin’s (If I Die Tonight) deliciously twisty novel.”

-- Library Journal (starred review) on Never Look Back

“Expertly crafted… A mind-bending mystery, an insightful exploration of parent-child relationships, and a cautionary tale about bitterness and blame.”

-- Kirkus Reviews (starred review), on Never Look Back

“Alison Gaylin’s 11th novel perceptively examines family dynamics, the domino effects of violence and our personal stories — real or invented — that help us maneuver through life. The strong tension that launches Never Look Back only intensifies with each surprising twist… Never Look Back is another superior outing from Gaylin.”

-- Associated Press

About the Author

USA Today and international bestselling author Alison Gaylin has won the Edgar and Shamus awards. Her work has been published in the US, UK, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Japan, Germany, Romania and Denmark, and she has been nominated for numerous awards, including the Macavity, Anthony, ITW Thriller and Strand Book Award. In addition to her novels, she has published many short stories and collaborated with Megan Abbott on the graphic novel Normandy Gold (Titan/Hard Case Crime, 2018). WEBSITE

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