Invisible Woman

Atlantic Monthly. Jan. 2024. 272p. ISBN 9780802161406. $27. THRILLER
When a prestigious Hollywood producer is accused of sexual assault, Joni Ackerman contacts her estranged friend Val, who endured a similar ordeal years ago. They were both budding stars then, Val as an upcoming movie star, Joni as a groundbreaking producer. Then Val stepped away from acting and asked Joni to keep the attack on her a secret. In the present, Joni is asked to headline a festival of women filmmakers of the 1980s and ’90s. This allows her to reflect on other women in the industry who spoke up against harassment and lost their careers. She also begins to see how moving across the country for her husband, Paul, to pursue his television career took a toll on hers. As the ongoing #MeToo media buzz eats away at Joni, she tries to persuade Val to reveal the details of her assault, but both Val and Paul are adamantly against doing so. Joni continues to pressure Val, and soon there are disastrous consequences for them both.
VERDICT Lief’s (“Karin Schaeffer” series) timely novel can occasionally feel like it predictably echoes the news cycle, but the psychological twists make it worth reading and hard to put down. For fans of Chandler Baker’s Whisper Network or Louise O’Neill’s Asking for It.
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