In Frey’s debut novel, corporate players clash and old friends revisit buried secrets.
Heather Colling’s life was long ago mapped out by her parents: She would attend the business program at Georgetown University, establish a career with a powerful corporation, buy a big house in Fairfield, Connecticut, and marry a man approved by her mother. Lately, that husband, Brandon Collings, has been behaving strangely, and mysteries at her workplace have left her unsteady. Specifically, she worries that she’s being stalked by someone. Heather underwent multiple traumas as a child, including a series of assaults and a fire; she and her childhood friends “live in a spider’s web” of secrets due to dark events that took place in her home, known as “Sunny Hollow,” back in 1968. Now several of those friends are receiving strange phone calls and threatening visits by an unknown person. Heather herself becomes entangled in a shocking murder and a related sexual harassment case at her company, which could endanger the careers and fortunes of the CEO and her fellow executives. She and her friends must rely on one another to piece together mysteries and confront brutal and powerful men who’ll stop at nothing to cover up their crimes. Frey addresses a number of contemporary issues in this novel’s pages: the Me Too movement, the struggles of Indigenous people, and the necessity of inclusion; Heather’s best friends are African-American, white, and Native Latina, and they reflect on the meanings of those identities throughout the novel. But with so many characters keeping track of so many secrets, the reader may be left to wonder whether Frey’s book doesn’t attempt to do too much. It also can be tricky to determine the chronological order of flashbacks, and some of Frey’s dialogue comes across as stagy: “ ‘Georgetown doesn’t have a thing on Harvard.’ He snickered.” There’s much that’s worthy in these pages; the suspense is effective, and the friendships feel real throughout. However, the reader will have to be patient and attentive to appreciate these highlights.
A vivid, if sometimes-melodramatic, tangle of corporate intrigue, murder, friendship, and love gone wrong.