Sunday, November 20, 2022

The Personal Assistant

The Personal Assistant by Kimberly Belle
11/29/22; 352 pages
Park Row Books

The Personal Assistant by Kimberly Belle is a highly recommended novel of domestic suspense following the downfall of a social media influencer.

Alex Hutchinson, a 39-year old social media influencer, is mother to 12-year-old twins Penelope and Gigi, and married to Patrick, a moneyman and news personality. When Unapologetically Alex hits one million followers, Alex and her personal assistant A.C. have a drunken celebration. The next morning Alex immediately realizes that something is wrong. A post she appears to have made the previous evening has went viral and for all the wrong reasons. She can't remember making it, but the sentiments within are clearly things she has shared in the privacy of her home. Now the trolls and indignant are out in force attacking her and A.C. appears to have vanished. As her whole influencer world begins to implode, and she is doxxed, the naysayers are becoming more emboldened and violent.

The narrative unfolds through three points-of-view, Alex and Patrick in the present day, and A.C. in 1994. Readers will be immediately pulled into the drama while trying to figure out who may have published the inflammatory post. Obviously, whoever did it was trying to hurt Alex and the repercussions keep amplifying. The suspect, at first, is A.C., but soon her husband is also on the list as Patrick seems to be hiding something. The voice of A.C. is from years ago when she is a maid in a motel and meets a wealthy man who pursues her.

The plot will pull you in and the tension, suspense, and action will keep you reading. The character development is light, but the main focus of the novel is the intrigue and figuring out who is the guilty party. If you are looking for an entertaining novel, The Personal Assistant is a good choice. Parts of the plot are a bit over the top, but the intertwining stories will hold your attention.

Anyone who has been online for any length of time will certainly relate to Alex's emotional turmoil. As a long time book reviewer and blogger (since 2007), who predates the word influencer, I once had a negative review go viral due to trolling by a group of people years after the original review. At that point, I pulled the review down for a time and required comments to come from identifiable people. The fact that many people will be able to relate to Alex's experiences on some level helps to make the novel relatable even when the actions in the novel far exceed basic trolling behavior.

Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of Park Row Books via Edelweiss.

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