NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • Who’s really following you on social media? The scam of a lifetime brings together two wildly different women in this page-turning thriller about greed, legacy, and betrayal from the New York Times bestselling author of Watch Me Disappear.
An ID Book Club Selection • “It’s Dynasty meets Patricia Highsmith.”—The Washington Post
Nina once bought into the idea that her fancy liberal arts degree would lead to a fulfilling career. When that dream crashed, she turned to stealing from rich kids in L.A. alongside her wily Irish boyfriend, Lachlan. Nina learned from the best: Her mother was the original con artist, hustling to give her daughter a decent childhood despite their wayward life. But when her mom gets sick, Nina puts everything on the line to help her, even if it means running her most audacious, dangerous scam yet.
Vanessa is a privileged young heiress who wanted to make her mark in the world. Instead she becomes an Instagram influencer—traveling the globe, receiving free clothes and products, and posing for pictures in exotic locales. But behind the covetable façade is a life marked by tragedy. After a broken engagement, Vanessa retreats to her family’s sprawling mountain estate, Stonehaven: a mansion of dark secrets not just from Vanessa’s past, but from that of a lost and troubled girl named Nina.
Nina’s, Vanessa’s, and Lachlan’s paths collide here, on the cold shores of Lake Tahoe, where their intertwined lives give way to a winter of aspiration and desire, duplicity and revenge.
This dazzling, twisty, mesmerizing novel showcases acclaimed author Janelle Brown at her best, as two brilliant, damaged women try to survive the greatest game of deceit and destruction they will ever play.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
If you’re looking to escape into a twisty and extremely satisfying psychological thriller, look no further: The latest novel from New York Times best-selling author Janelle Brown is all that and more. When reluctant con artist Nina Ross hears about a job targeting her childhood nemesis, she’s all in—until she realizes her frenemy’s story is far more complicated than she ever imagined. Brown’s slippery cast of characters deliver endless intrigue, and her settings—from a glam New York gala to the pristine shores of Lake Tahoe—add an extra layer of depth and sparkle. Pretty Things is a pitch-perfect combination of biting social commentary and escapist fun.
In this mixed heist tale, Brown (Watch Me Disappear) pits two con artists against a socialite, but a shared history makes their job messier than usual. Nina and her boyfriend Lachlan prey on Los Angeles's young, careless, and wealthy, taking largely unmissed goods from their homes that can be resold for small fortunes. When Nina's mom learns that her cancer has returned and the police turn up investigating Nina and Lachlan's crime spree, the couple decide to leave town and take a swing at an instant payday the $1 million Nina knows is in a safe in the Lake Tahoe mansion of her ex-boyfriend, Benny, which is currently occupied by his Instagram-influencer sister, Vanessa. But their efforts to scam Vanessa turn up more surprises than they expected, and Nina's attempts to hide her identity blow up. Despite a catchy opening, the stakes fade and the narrative flags during Nina and Lachlan's overlong ruse, and long flashbacks and shifts in perspective drag out what quickly becomes a predictable storyline. There's promise here, but many readers will find their interest waning.
Started really slow but then great unexpected twists!
This book is definitely BURSTING with back story, but once you make it through, it all slowly starts to unravel and it gets so gripping. I couldn’t put it down in the end.
Slow first half
Conceptually this book should be 5/5 stars. Unique idea but execution was 2.5/5. All and all a decent book but this could have been 150 pages shorter. The first half of the book is slooooow with excessive description on things we already knew. The story is told and retold from different perspectives so there is a lot of duplicate detail with little payoff to the actual story. The second half picks up once we are no longer told the same information twice.