Sunday, September 3, 2023

This is How We End Things

This is How We End Things by R.J. Jacobs
9/12/23; 336 pages

This is How We End Things by R.J. Jacobs is a highly recommended locked room mystery.

A disparate group of graduate students at Dorrance University in Forest, North Carolina are conducting experiments on the psychology of lying and deception. Their methods are questionable, which is clear when their current test goes awry. However, it becomes deadly when, as the grad students are working at night in the psychology department building on the campus which is closed for a break, one of them is subsequently found murdered in the office of the chair of the psychology department, Joe Lyons, the next morning.

As a major snow storm rolls in, Detective Alana Larson is assigned to the case. The group of suspects is obvious. The key is to figure out who did it among a group of suspects who are experts in the science of deception.

This was an interesting closed-room mystery and following the investigation into the group of suspects is entertaining. The pacing is even and which keep the action moving. The tension rises incrementally as it is apparent that the danger is still present.

All of the characters are depicted as unique, realistic individuals and it is easy to keep in mind each of them as the investigation is underway and action unfolds through their different points-of-view. The culprit was rather easy to figure out, but the enjoyment is in the hunt and the deep-dive into the characters.

It was interesting to see a popular meme included as dialogue between characters and a viral story written into a character's development. Sort of a hat-tip to authors finding words and events around them to write into their novels.

Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of Sourcebooks via NetGalley.

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