by Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkamen
I listened to The Wife Between Us by this writing duo and really enjoyed it so I was looking forward to An Anonymous Girl. This psychological thriller, written in the first person, didn’t disappoint.
Jessica Farris is a young woman struggling to make ends meet in New York City. Her dream is to be a make-up artist for Broadway shows but she has had to take a job with BeautyBuzz, a company that sends their employees out to do the make-up for people before special events. While doing the make-up for two college girls she discovers that a university professor, Dr. Shields, is doing a study on ethics and morality and is seeking young women to participate. She would be paid $500.00 for just a few hours work. The college girl, Taylor, signed up but decided she wanted to stay out late and party so she wasn’t going to go to it. Desperate for money to help her family care for her younger sister who suffered a brain injury, Jessica decides to try to get accepted into the study. She signs up as Taylor and shows up at the university where she has to admit that she isn’t Taylor but she gets accepted into the study anyway. It is interesting that she gets accepted into a study on ethics and morality after admitting that she lied when she signed up. Hmm… Something must be going on here. She is put in a room by herself with only a computer. Jessica is named Subject 52 and told that all answers would remain anonymous so she should feel free to answer honestly.
When the first question shows up on the screen, Could you tell a lie without feeling guilt? she is taken aback. Dr. Shields knows she lied by pretending to be Taylor but she answers the question. She is then told by the computer to “dig deeper“. More questions follow and although she is a little bit uncomfortable answering them, she does because she needs the money. Soon Jessica is contacted by Dr. Shields who wants to continue with their sessions beyond the time period for the original study. Jessica will be paid $500.00 each time and she can’t pass it up because it seems too good to be true. Although she doesn’t know it yet, Jessica is just the person Dr. Shields has been looking for to put her plan into action. Doctor Shields is beautiful, wealthy and seems to see right into Jessica and knows what she is thinking and feeling. As Jessica is drawn into Dr. Shield’s manipulative web, a game of cat and mouse begins that threatens to destroy Jessica and everyone she loves.
The story alternates between Dr. Shield’s and Jessica’s voices and the narration by Julia Whelan and Barrie Kreinik is perfect. Because there are so many twists and turns in this story it is difficult to say more without spoilers. There is an especially nice twist at the end. I am looking forward to the next book by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkamen