Author: Michelle Richmond
Published by: Atlantic Monthly Press on Jul. 6, 2021
Format: ARC, Paperback
Source: Publishers Group Canada
Book Rating: 8.5/10
Escaping New York City and the espionage case that made her question everything, recently widowed FBI Agent Lina Connerly returns home to sell the house she has inherited in tony Greenfield, California. With her teenage son Rory, Lina hopes to reassemble her life, reevaluate her career, and find a clear way forward. Adrift and battling insomnia, she discovers that her father’s sleepy hometown has been transformed into a Silicon Valley suburb on steroids, obsessed with an annual exam called The Wonder Test. When students at her son’s high school go missing, reappearing under mysterious circumstances on abandoned beaches, Lina must summon her strength and her investigative instincts, pushing her own ethical boundaries to the limits in order to solve the crimes. Meanwhile, an old espionage case called Red Vine keeps calling her back into the fold. While Lina struggles to balance her new role as a single mother and the complex counterintelligence puzzles she is so adept at solving, Greenfield’s shadowy dangers creep closer to her own home.
A searing view of a culture that puts the wellbeing of children at risk for advancement and prestige, and a captivating story of the lengths a mother will go for her son.
Suspenseful, edgy, and chilling!
The Wonder Test is a brisk, menacing tale that introduces us to FBI agent Lina Connerly, a recent widow who, after both the loss of her husband and her father, moves to Silicon Valley where her teenage son can attend the prestigious, local public school and she can tidy up her father’s affairs. But when her son’s girlfriend Caroline goes missing on the eve of the annual “Wonder Test”, and the case looks eerily similar to that of three other students who previously vanished without a trace only to reappear a week later naked, bald, and malnourished, this idyllic spot suddenly seems a little less perfect and danger seems to be lurking around every corner.
The prose is intricate and tight. The characters are inquisitive, tenacious, and intelligent. And the plot unravels and intertwines effortlessly into a sinister tale of deception, manipulation, secrets, power, privilege, revelations, gossip, grief, deviance, and malicious intentions.
Overall, The Wonder Test is a shrewd, sharp, intense thrill ride by Richmond that highlights just how dark, dangerous, and ruthless some people can truly be, especially when driven to conceal an underworld filled with lust, greed, and sinful proclivities.
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Thank you to PGC Books for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.