Black Swan | April 2016 | 384 pgs
First and foremost, this book wasn't an easy read. Writing my afterthought was even harder as I felt my emotions were all over the place. Then there are also the various issues which make you shudder and think about the situations and what you would do if you were the characters in this book.
Sarah, Amira, Paula, Ewan and Charlie. These are the five characters who are co-workers working in the same department office. Gill, their Executive Manager has been coasting during the last couple of years and thus, productivity and profitability have suffered as a result. Gill is ultimately asked to go and her position is replaced by a much younger Rachel Masters. Now Rachel isn't a person to mess around with; she meant business and have high expectations from her subordinates. Gone is the casual and informal atmosphere in the department; the department at present is so tense that any 'small talk' with Rachel would make them break out in a cold sweat and then fill them with deep resent and anger should they are being talked down by her. Rachel also takes up the divide and rule style of management so it is natural of the staff to be competitive yet wary of one another. When the MD decided that a team-bonding weekend is a great way to build up the department's morale and have some little fun knowing one another at the same time, the staff no longer feel the bonding and trust as before because something has changed ever since Rachel filled up Gill's position.
On the other end, there is Anne Cater who is looking at an old case when she was a junior psychiatrist. The present news of the murderer and what happened fills her with dark memories of the past involving two young damaged siblings, Laurie and David. Anne and another junior psychiatrist, Dan Oppenheimer, were in-charge of the Child L and Child D case respectively. Both of them reported to Professor Ed Kowalsky. Looking back, Anne is once again filled with deep regret of the wrong judgement made by Prof Kowalsky and how that mistake have made someone committed a murder under a triggered stressful situation.
I mentioned before this book wasn't an easy read given the subject matters and how it messed my mind with these characters and their doubtful minds. Most of the times I found myself holding my breath and dreading the outcomes because I just couldn't trust any of the characters; each of them has flaws and agendas and on top of it Rachel's attitudes simply make one's blood boils. As much as I was bothered by these, I have to say this is one great and fast-paced psychological thriller. I loved Ms. Cohen's writing style and how well-crafted this story is. I also liked it that it has an office setting which made me reminiscent of my past working life and how believable some of these characters are.
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