During college, Ethan, Anthony, Jay, and Chris were the closest of friends. But years later, life hasn’t been kind to all of them with Ethan’s start up tech business going under, Anthony getting divorced, and Jay going to jail. Chris seems to be doing okay, as he has the perfect wife, twins, and a great job as a lawyer where he has just made junior partner. Chris has also been hurting those friends once closest to him, but the group doesn’t know much about Chris’ childhood and the years he won’t talk about.
Some of the men want to retaliate against the one that took their trust and sold them out, which leads all of them to a familiar cabin in the woods. Secrets will be uncovered, desires will be revealed, and madness will drive the friends to an edge they might not be able to come back from.
There are a lot of warnings in this book and many potential triggers, so if you have concerns, do read these before starting. There is a lot that happens in this story and almost all of it is a spoiler to unravel the next spoiler, so it’s difficult to discuss details of the book in this review. The story is mostly told through Ethan’s POV, with a couple of scenes given to other MCs, but the transitions are done well and it’s always clear whose POV we are in. Ethan had a great idea for a tech company and he thought he was doing well, until he wasn’t and the business went under. He now delivers for FedEx, he’s mostly miserable, and he has no idea what’s next for him. Chris has been his closest friend for years, but now that Chris is married with kids and his career is launching, it’s clear that Chris and Chris’ wife don’t feel that Ethan fits into his life anymore. Ethan knows that Chris had a difficult childhood and was adopted at an older age, but he has no idea of all that Chris has endured—none of them do.
The group of friends has fragmented somewhat, but Jay keeps calling Ethan to get together and Ethan finally, reluctantly, agrees. Ethan hasn’t spent much time with Jay since he was released from prison and when Ethan, Jay, and Anthony meet up, they draw up a plan to get the four friends back together.
What happens next is a revenge porn/non-consent story that I feel goes into the fantasy category with a “what-if” vibe—what if you could get revenge on the person you thought wronged you the most? With Jay leading the events, the men confront their ideas and desires for revenge. The author has a distinct way of reeling you into the story and making you uncomfortable, taking the story to the edge before pulling back just enough to fill you with endorphins to plunge you back down again into chaos. There is a storyline of a relationship and a storyline of a romance starting between two of the characters that is worked into the larger framework here and there are also many other areas of focus and, while the story runs darker, all of the pieces start to fit together to create small explosions along the way. The ending intentionally leaves room for a lot of conflicted emotions, as the story then sets up the intensity for the next book, which I could use right about now. If you are looking for a more unconventional story with a darker edge, Our Sweet Revenge, would be the one to read next.