29 SECONDS by T.M. Logan


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A Christopher Marlowe scholar contemplates a Faustian bargain to rid the world of a serial sexual harasser.

English professor Sarah Haywood, 32, has spent the last two years fending off unwanted advances from lecherous department head Alan Hawthorne. Reporting him is pointless; Queen Anne University needs the Cambridge-educated TV academic’s fame and grant money too much to discipline him, and Hawthorne has enough clout to ruin any accuser’s career. Sarah assumes things will improve when her position becomes permanent—until Hawthorne informs her that she must sleep with him to earn tenure. Sarah is despondent; she can’t afford to cross Hawthorne—particularly since her husband, Nick, left her with their two young kids to go “find himself.” Then one night, while racing through London’s side streets to collect her children from day care, Sarah thwarts the attempted kidnapping of James Grosvenor’s daughter. Intent on repaying her, Grosvenor hands Sarah a burner phone and gives her 72 hours to call him with the name of someone she wants to disappear. If she declines the offer, it’s gone forever. If she accepts, there’s no going back. And if she tells anyone, her family will pay. Sarah tries to forget the encounter, but as the Hawthorne situation deteriorates, she can’t help but wonder—what if? Logan (Lies, 2018) squanders a strong, tense start with preposterous twists, underdeveloped characters, and a paper-thin plot. Although Sarah’s terror and anguish ring true, her anger remains at an exasperating simmer and she lacks agency throughout. Hawthorne quickly devolves from convincing creep to moustache-twirling villain, further sapping the tale of authenticity and heft. Short chapters push the pace, but an abrupt conclusion fails to satisfy.

Logan delivers a disappointing take on the #MeToo thriller.

Pub Date: Sept. 10th, 2019
ISBN: 978-1-250-18229-6
Page count: 368pp
Publisher: St. Martin's
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1st, 2019