Some friends—and friendships—are worth killing for in this dark, twisty suspense novel by national bestselling author Jesse Q. Sutanto.
Jane is unhappy.
A struggling midlist writer whose novels barely command four figures, she feels trapped in an underwhelming marriage, just scraping by to pay a crippling Bay Area mortgage for a house—a life—she's never really wanted.
There's only ever been one person she cared about, one person who truly understood her: Thalia. Jane's best and only friend nearly a decade ago during their Creative Writing days at Oxford. It was the only good year of Jane’s life—cobblestones and books and damp English air, heady wine and sweet cider and Thalia, endless Thalia. But then one night ruined everything. The blood-soaked night that should have bound Thalia to Jane forever but instead made her lose her completely. Thalia disappeared without a trace, and Jane has been unable to find her since.
Because there she is, her name at the top of the New York Times bestseller list: A Most Pleasant Death by Thalia Ashcroft. When she discovers a post from Thalia on her website about attending a book convention in New York City in a week—“Can’t wait to see you there!”—Jane can’t wait either.
She’ll go to New York City, too, credit card bill be damned. And this time, she will do things right. Jane won’t lose Thalia again.
Sutanto (Vera Wong's Unsolicited Advice for Murderers) keeps readers off-balance in this entertaining thriller. When half-white, half–Chinese American Jane Morgan—who happily self-identifies as a sociopath—enters Oxford's creative writing program, she feels out of place, unsure of her talent and how to fit in with the school's insular, lily-white student body. Her transition is eased by Thalia Ashcroft, a gifted and popular peer who takes Jane under her wing. Jane, however, is jealous of anyone else interested in Thalia, and their time together ends with an unspecified act of violence. Nine years later, Jane is unhappily married in San Francisco, with two published but unsuccessful novels. The past comes knocking when she reads one morning that Thalia, whom she hasn't heard from in years, has made the New York Times bestseller list with her debut novel—the plot of which suggests it was inspired by the pair's relationship. After some social media sleuthing, Jane flies cross-country to reconnect with Thalia at a genre convention in New York City, opening old wounds and inflicting new ones in the process. Even readers anticipating some of the twists Sutanto lines up will be entertained by Jane's ice-cold narration ("Californians just can't help themselves. If I stayed there any longer I was bound to kill someone. Just kidding. Sort of"). This is a wickedly enjoyable treatise on the dark sides of female friendship.