I confess this one had a slow start for me, and I almost gave up on it. Cassie’s obsession got repetitive in the day-to-day of her job. But after we hit roughly 40% in, the story really unfolds, and the pacing picks up. Cassie is the epitome of an unreliable narrator, and not just because we can’t trust what she says. She’s been self-medicating for so long her memory is sketchy at best. It’s exacerbated because bits of her past reveal in small doses, so we’re not exactly sure how we got here.
I wasn’t a fan of using newspaper articles late in the book to tell the story. As far as the characters, Cameron did a great job writing such an unstable character whose special brand of obsession went above and beyond. Thank you, Ballantine Books, for sending this along.
Just One Look is available for preorder on Amazon for $13.99, it releases July 27th.
About the Book
Cassie Woodson is adrift. After suffering an epic tumble down the corporate ladder, Cassie finds the only way she can pay her bills is to take a thankless temp job reviewing correspondence for a large-scale fraud suit. The daily drudgery amplifies all that her life is lacking—love, friends, stability—and leaves her with too much time on her hands, which she spends fixating on the mistakes that brought her to this point.
While sorting through a relentless deluge of emails, something catches her eye: the tender (and totally private) exchanges between a partner at the firm, Forest Watts, and his enchanting wife, Annabelle. Cassie knows she shouldn’t read them. But it’s just one look. And once that door opens, she finds she can’t look away.
Every day, twenty floors below Forest’s corner office, Cassie dissects their emails from her dingy workstation. A few clicks of her mouse and she can see every adoring word they write to each other. By peeking into their apparently perfect life, Cassie finds renewed purpose and happiness, reveling in their penchant for vintage wines, morning juice presses, and lavish dinner parties thrown in their stately Westchester home. There are no secrets from her. Or so she thinks.
Her admiration quickly escalates into all-out mimicry, because she wants this life more than anything. Maybe if she plays make-believe long enough, it will become real for her. But when Cassie orchestrates a “chance” meeting with Forest in the real world and sees something that throws the state of his marriage into question, the fantasy she’s been carefully cultivating shatters. Suddenly, she doesn’t simply admire Annabelle—she wants to take her place. And she’s armed with the tools to make that happen.