When 7 psychopaths enroll in the same school, terror ensues

For a psychopath, Chloé Sèvre is exceptionally insightful about what social media can say about a person. “Does Bachman drink too much ...


For a psychopath, Chloé Sèvre is exceptionally insightful about what social media can say about a person. “Does Bachman drink too much and hang out with people who don’t take care of him,” she notes, analyzing the Instagram account of another student she intends to murder at Vera’s house Kurian. NEVER SEEN ME COMING (Park Row, 400 pages, $ 27.99). “Does Will Bachman have 60 days to live?”

The conceptual premise of this book is that Chloe and six other students, all psychopaths, enrolled in a secret program at John Adams University to help them become productive, non-criminal members of society. (They get free lessons in return for their participation.) Chloe’s elaborate plan to kill Will, who sexually assaulted her in high school, is complicated by the fact that other members of the program are murdered, one by one. Can she trust Charles, who is hot and smart, and avoid getting killed?

It is an absurd idea, but done with panache and wit. I devoured this captivating book throughout a day of travel – in a cab, at the TSA checkpoint, on the plane, in the next cab – and into the night. My desire to run to the end collided with my desire to savor every word. Who would be the last psychopath standing?

As an anti-hero, Chloe is more Dexter than Ripley – a bad person with some sort of moral compass, someone you can’t help but root for. And as chimerical as it is, the psychopathic rehabilitation program in which she is enrolled demonstrates an admirable belief in the redemptive possibilities of the human race. Are the participants learning something? As they say, “I learned to at least look like a human being.

“I have wanted, on several occasions over the past 18 years, to contact you,” reads the letter sent to Paloma Evans’ adoptive parents at the Sri Lankan orphanage that was once her home. “To let you know the terrible truth surrounding the adoption of Paloma.”


We yearn to find out what this horrible secret is, of course, but in the devilish, full of twists and turns MY SWEET DAUGHTER (Berkley, 372 pp., $ 26), Sri Lankan author Amanda Jayatassi makes us guess and worry until the end. Whatever it is, it torments Paloma. Brought to San Francisco as a young girl by loving parents who gave her a “perfectly wonderful life that never seemed to be mine to begin with,” she says, she is now a 30-year-old mess .

As Paloma faces a series of puzzling crises in the present that make her wonder if she is just paranoid or if people really want to have her, we are brought back, in alternate chapters, to her life at the orphanage. . Who wouldn’t want to escape Little Miracles Girls’ Home? Among other things, one of the residents is covered in burns and has a tendency to hover threateningly over other girls’ beds at night and say things like, “When you die, may I have your skin.” ? “

Dirty and self-destructive, a heavy drinker who doesn’t hesitate to frame others to her advantage, Paloma does her best to push the reader away, as she always repelled her parents. (They love her anyway. They’ve gone on vacation, but in their postcards they call her “my sweet girl.”) As her past collides with her present, you begin to understand something of confluence. forces that brought her here. Guilt is a relative thing. There is more than one villain in this story.


The first pages of Julia Dahl THE MISSING HOURS (Minotaur, 278 pp., $ 25.99) looks weary, terribly familiar. Claudia Castro, a freshman at NYU, wakes up in her dorm room covered in bruises, her skirt pulled up and her underwear missing. She has no recollection of how she got there. “The details of what happened have faded from her mind, but are present throughout her body,” writes Dahl.

But this is not a book about how no one believes her; it’s a book about how she plots to take back the lives of the two classmates who wronged her. (Yes, they were dumb enough to make a video.) What starts out as a story about rape and victim blame turns into an adventure thriller as Claudia goes into hiding to orchestrate her revenge, her family tries to find that the suspicious father of one of his attackers tries to stop everything.

There are payments and bribes, attacks with a baseball bat and a cutter, people doing drugs, a guy with a gun, questions about money and class and the way bad parenting leads to bad kids, and a big reckoning with when us Claudia’s wealthy and privileged family may have been straight out of “Gossip Girl,” but she deserves our admiration.

“People are fed up with this feminist ‘me too’, this ‘rape culture’,” the brother of one of the boys who assaulted Claudia told his mother. “Your daughter is a privileged little princess who had a temper tantrum because she was too drunk and couldn’t keep her legs tight. And now my brother’s life is ruined.

“Your brother is a rapist,” Claudia’s mother says.

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