The Collective: A Novel (Hardcover)
"Chilling...this terrific novel is...propelled by an iron-tight plot that becomes increasingly tense." --New York Times Book Review
"It’s a nerve-shredding, emotionally harrowing ride. Don’t miss it.” —Megan Abbott, New York Times bestselling author
The USA Today bestselling and Edgar Award–winning author of Never Look Back and If I Die Tonight asks how far a grieving mother will go to right a tragic wrong in this propulsive novel of psychological suspense.
Camille Gardener is a grieving—and angry—mother who, five years after her daughter’s death, is still obsessed with the privileged young man she believes to be responsible.
When her rash actions draw the attention of a secret group of women—the collective— Camille is drawn into a dark web where these mothers share their wildly different stories of loss as well as their desire for justice in a world where privilege denies accountability. Fueled by mutual rage, the collective members devise and act out retribution fantasies via precise, anonymous, highly coordinated revenge killings.
As Camille struggles to comprehend whether this is a role-playing exercise or terrifying reality, she must decide if these women are truly avenging angels or monsters. Becoming more deeply enmeshed in the group, Camille learns truths about the collective—and about herself—that she may not be able to survive
Alison Gaylin is the author of the Edgar-nominated thriller Hide Your Eyes and its sequel You Kill Me, the stand-alone Edgar-nominated What Remains of Me, and the Brenna Spector series: And She Was (winner of the Shamus Award), Into the Dark, and the Edgar-nominated Stay With Me. A graduate of Northwestern University and Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism, she lives with her husband and daughter in Woodstock, New York.
"It's gripping, suspenseful, and dark. This is one you want to read first."
— Harlan Coben (on the Today Show)
“Dark and daring, The Collective by Alison Gaylin is a revenge thriller with an unexpected twist.”
"Gaylin’s prose, so achingly pure yet electric in its gathering rage, pulls readers so far into the abyss… Even after reading its shattering conclusion, you might be drawn back to the beginning of this blistering novel in search of every last breadcrumb Gaylin has dropped.”
— Los Angeles Times
“Escalating stakes and a tight, twisty plot fuel this timely domestic thriller, which unfolds through a visceral first-person-present narration. Camille’s pain and fury are so palpable they’re contagious… Gaylin delivers a thought-provoking page-turner that grips and gratifies. An all-too-plausible tale of Highsmith-ian vengeance.”
— Kirkus Reviews
“[A] gripping psychological thriller from Edgar winner Gaylin… A breathtaking twist will catch readers by surprise. This tale of justice without mercy is a page-turner.”
— Publishers Weekly
"Gaylin imbues THE COLLECTIVE with solid suspense that grows from myriad twists, each of which is a surprise… THE COLLECTIVE careens to a perfectly noir — and totally believable — finale, showcasing Gaylin’s storytelling skills.”
— South Florida Sun Sentinel
“Fans of dark psychological suspense will be unable to put this one down.”
"The Collective is quite possibly Alison Gaylin’s best book yet—and that’s saying a lot. The grieving-moms-as-avengers premise is entirely gripping in and of itself, but it’s the underlying emotion and subsequent action that makes reading it an all-consuming, immersive experience. Like anything worthy of thoughtful consideration and debate, this book may make you deeply uncomfortable at times but will ultimately win you over with its bold, beating heart."
“Gaylin, using a skillful balance of tension and intimacy, pulls us in to consider the implications of using vengeance and vigilantism in seeking justice and to find solace for overwhelming grief.”
— Chronogram Magazine
“Alison Gaylin’s The Collective is an astonishing feat. In the tradition of Ira Levin’s unforgettable social thrillers (Rosemary’s Baby, Stepford Wives), it’s a nerve-shredding, emotionally harrowing ride that also speaks volumes about our current moment, the dangers of our digital world, the potency of female rage. Don’t miss it.”
— Megan Abbott, national bestselling author of The Turnout
“Alison Gaylin's The Collective feels like the book of the moment, the year. Clever, compassionate and all too believable, it's a stunning achievement by one of my favorite writers
— Laura Lippman, New York Times Bestselling Author of DREAM GIRL
“Alison Gaylin's The Collective is a dark and sinister ride that goes straight to the heart of revenge. Not just what it means, but what it costs. This is a highly entertaining, and terrifying, read."
— Peter Swanson, New York Times bestselling author of Every Vow You Break
“Alison Gaylin’s The Collective is your next addiction: A diabolically clever thriller filled with spine-tingling twists, it’s also a psychologically rich exploration of vengeance and justice. I can’t stop thinking about this book.”
— Alafair Burke, New York Times Bestselling Author of THE BETTER SISTER
"Brutal, raw, and beautifully wrought THE COLLECTIVE is psychological suspense of the first order. A mother’s grief ignites into rage, leading her down a dark, twisting, dangerous road to a certain brand of justice. Alison Gaylin doesn’t pull a single punch in this layered, engrossing, and nerve shattering thriller where wrong is right and revenge is a dish served white hot.”
— Lisa Unger, New York Times bestselling author of CONFESSIONS ON THE 7:45
"The Collective is a propulsive, emotional conspiracy thriller powered by the all-consuming fire of maternal rage. Without pretty moralizing, Gaylin shows both the destruction and visceral satisfaction that come with revenge. I am a peaceful person, but also a mother, and I read the whole book with a killer's heart.”
— Steph Cha, award-winning author of Your House Will Pay
“Nothing is as it seems in Gaylin’s addictive, shape-shifting thriller... a twisty-turny plot that will sizzle your summer.”
— People (Included in “The Best New Books”), on Never Look Back
“Mystery and true crime aficionados will delight in piecing together the puzzle in Edgar winner Gaylin’s (If I Die Tonight) deliciously twisty novel.”
— Library Journal (starred review) on Never Look Back
“Expertly crafted… A mind-bending mystery, an insightful exploration of parent-child relationships, and a cautionary tale about bitterness and blame.”
— Kirkus Reviews (starred review), on Never Look Back
“Alison Gaylin’s 11th novel perceptively examines family dynamics, the domino effects of violence and our personal stories — real or invented — that help us maneuver through life. The strong tension that launches Never Look Back only intensifies with each surprising twist… Never Look Back is another superior outing from Gaylin.”
— Associated Press