“Colleague, co-worker, killer…
Sarah, Amira, Paula, Ewan and Charlie enjoy their routine 9-to-5 life. Until the day an aggressive new boss walks in…
Suddenly, there’s something chilling in the air.
Who secretly hates everyone?
Who is tortured by their past?
Who is capable of murder?…”
This week I picked up a book that caught my eye in my local library to read whilst I had a brief stay in hospital for a minor operation as I didn’t want to take my Kobo Aura in with me. The book was “When She Was Bad” by Nigerian-born London-based author Tammy Cohen.
I was initially drawn to the synopsis above which, whilst quite brief, struck a chord with me – no doubt due to most of my working life having been spent in an office environment.
The first chapter introduces us to the character of US-based Anne who, we later discover, has a history of working with damaged children. Interspersed between chapters from Anne’s perspective are some from the point of view of the various characters working for Mark Hamilton Recruitment in London. There is the deputy team manager Paula, team members Sarah, Amira, Charlie and Ewan and office junior Chloe. These six are dealing with the sudden sacking of their popular easy-going boss Gill and trying to come to terms with her replacement, the hard-nosed and demanding Rachel Masters.
So throughout the book we are gradually learning about a specific case that Anne worked on a number of years previously and also hearing the different perspectives of the various staff members of the recruitment agency as mind games and office politics become more deadly than is normally (hopefully!) the case.
Now, it’s no great leap of deduction to figure out that the two stories are connected and that the child that Anne talks of is involved in some awful events in the UK. However, when the truth finally gets revealed it is quite a shock and not what / who I was expecting at all!
An excellent story set in an unusual setting – usually murder mysteries involve family members or serial killers etc., rather than being centered within the staff of a single office team. The characters are brilliantly portrayed, with all their insecurities and weaknesses being very believable. Really well written and highly recommended reading…