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Pretty Things

Pretty Things

Carrie: This is your respectable beach read, because it is excellent thriller with lots of layers of complexity and morality. Nina Ross is a grifter along with her boyfriend Lachlan. They are sort of modern-day Robin Hoods who target rich, flashy idiots and steal and re-sell items they might not even miss (jewelry, antiques, etc.) "Wealth was a band-aid, not an inoculation," is the kind of insight that gives the story an added layer of credibility. In fact Nina has a degree in Art History and an antiques store which is a front, though she had good intentions of living life on the up and up until her mother (also a con) was diagnosed with cancer and needed major money for her med bills. Nina targets society girl and social media influencer Vanessa Liebling and her Lake Tahoe home, Stone Haven for her next big heist. This one is personal. Nina lived in Tahoe as a teenager and was involved with Vanessa's kind, down-to-earth brother Benny in high school until the snooty Liebling family put a stop to it. Nina and her mother were essentially ousted from Tahoe and this becomes a pivotal moment for her. Vanessa is vapid, superficial and gullible. Posing as Ashley, the yoga instructor, and Michael O'Brien the English professor from Portland, the con couple rents the caretaker cottage from Vanessa in an attempt to get close to her and the cash. Vanessa starts to fall for it, but gets tipped off about Nina/Ashley. Now the con changes hands and directions. This happens several times with surprising outcomes and revelations - it's books within books and by the end, I didn't know who to root for, but I liked being along for the ride. It kept me guessing through the final chapter and the epilogue ended everything smoothly, but with just a little seed of doubt. Gotcha!

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER - Who's really following you on social media? The scam of a lifetime brings together two wildly different women in this page-turning thriller about greed, legacy, and betrayal from the New York Times bestselling author of Watch Me Disappear.

An ID Book Club Selection - "It's Dynasty meets Patricia Highsmith."--The Washington Post

Nina once bought into the idea that her fancy liberal arts degree would lead to a fulfilling career. When that dream crashed, she turned to stealing from rich kids in L.A. alongside her wily Irish boyfriend, Lachlan. Nina learned from the best: Her mother was the original con artist, hustling to give her daughter a decent childhood despite their wayward life. But when her mom gets sick, Nina puts everything on the line to help her, even if it means running her most audacious, dangerous scam yet.

Vanessa is a privileged young heiress who wanted to make her mark in the world. Instead she becomes an Instagram influencer--traveling the globe, receiving free clothes and products, and posing for pictures in exotic locales. But behind the covetable façade is a life marked by tragedy. After a broken engagement, Vanessa retreats to her family's sprawling mountain estate, Stonehaven: a mansion of dark secrets not just from Vanessa's past, but from that of a lost and troubled girl named Nina.

Nina's, Vanessa's, and Lachlan's paths collide here, on the cold shores of Lake Tahoe, where their intertwined lives give way to a winter of aspiration and desire, duplicity and revenge.

This dazzling, twisty, mesmerizing novel showcases acclaimed author Janelle Brown at her best, as two brilliant, damaged women try to survive the greatest game of deceit and destruction they will ever play.

Publication Date: 
April 21, 2020