Scribe. Oct. 2019. 272p. ISBN 9781947534957. pap. $17; ebk. ISBN 9781925693799. THRILLER
DEBUT The only thing keeping 21-year-old Cynthia motivated is a fixation on her beautiful yoga instructor, Anahera. When Anahera’s marriage breaks up, Cynthia drains her father’s bank account, and the women run away to the Bay of Islands, where they buy a boat named Baby. Then the money runs out, and a series of shocking occurrences thwart their plans. Cynthia is further blindsided by the arrival of a strange man who takes an immediate interest in Anahera, gradually infiltrating her little love nest. Soon, Cynthia’s self-absorption and obsession take on a different complexion, going from lovesick to sinister. This dark and absorbing tale perfectly nails the egocentricity of the Internet age.
VERDICT The pace is a shade too slow in the beginning, but soon this debut develops into a troubling and tense thriller. The writing style is sparse, powerful, and effective. Although this book may not appeal to a mainstream audience, New Zealander Jochems’s startling and award-winning portrait of the postmillennial generation will cause readers to sit up and take notice.

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