What Have We Done

Source: DRC via NetGalley (St. Martin’s Press, Minotaur Books) in exchange for an honest review
Publication Date: March 7, 2023
Synopsis: Goodreads
Purchase Link: Amazon

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Why did I choose to read this book?

If I’m being honest, I’m not really sure why. I haven’t read any other books by Alex Finlay and it wasn’t recommended to me by any of my bookish connections. I think I might have just been scrolling through the “Most Requested Books” list on NetGalley one day and it was on the first page of results. I must have liked the description and requested it. Sometimes books just happen to you and that’s ok.

What is this book about?

A group of orphans/abandoned children from a group home do something we are led to believe is a killing and burial when they are very young. The book jumps to the present day, where these friends are scattered around in various situations and jobs when assassins begin hunting them down and attempting to kill them. You are meant to assume that their past is finally catching up to them. The story encompasses the unraveling of this mystery, how they all come back together despite their myriad lives to save each other again.

What is notable about this story?

When I took this book to bed with me the first night, I zoomed through to the 25% mark. The story sucks you in right away, the characters are all believable and Finlay writes in a way that makes them sympathetic immediately, which hastened the investment that I love to have in the characters, especially in a thriller/mystery/murder story like this. Once the gun sounds in the first moments, you’re off to the races and you don’t get a moment’s rest.

This is not your orphan Annie foster care story. I appreciated that the author kept things dark, only allowing for the smallest glimpses of hope and happiness, because that’s how the system works for the majority of kids swept into it. The effects of being a part of this system resonate far into adulthood. Watching Jenna, Nico, Donnie, and Artemis try to bury their past while it tries to bury them in turn was so on point it was scary. I appreciated this very honest take on this type of issue.

Was anything not so great?

I mentioned that when I started the story I zoomed through, but then the book stayed at such a high pace for so long that I got used to it and grew complacent/a little bored? No breaks in the action can be very tiring. Granted I think that the interludes with Donnie and the ghost writer gave us a bit of a break, but I’m not sure it was enough to dull the high pitched whine that starts at the beginning of this book and just never goes away. I guess it’s kind of a double edged sword situation: the action is intense but too intense? It’s a small quibble but notable.

What’s the verdict?

3 stars on Goodreads. It was a good book and I liked it but it didn’t like, blow my mind. If you’re a thriller/mystery/Black Widow fan you’ll love it. This is one I would absolutely recommend requesting at your local library and reading first before you buy, just to make sure it’s your cup of tea.