The Herd by Andrea Bartz

The Herd, by Andrea Bartz was a "Once Upon A Book Club Box"*** book that I would never have picked up on my own. Even after reading the dust jacket blurb, I was still feeling "meh" about it. This year, I am trying to read more thrillers so I sat down and read it in two days and I'm glad I did.

The Herd is a mystery/thriller that takes place in NYC, present time. (I do love books that take place in New York, but really this could have been set in any big city). The story is told with two points of view - sisters Katie and Hana. Eleanor Walsh is the owner of a high end, women's only business, The HERd, and she is about to make a very big announcement that will be huge for the company. There's just one problem; no one knows where Eleanor is.

Eleanor is missing. Did she leave the country or are others involved? Is she even still alive? Her friends, husband, and co-workers all begin to do their own investigation. Throughout this investigation, we learn more about her friends and husband and the secrets they have been keeping. This part was fun to see how the secrets were revealed.

It seemed that there were attempts to have strong female characters, themes of inclusion, feminism and even racism was touched upon. However, I'm not sure this was needed because it really wasn't part of the story. There was a real lost opportunity here as it could have been more about strong female characters and realistic ones, especially if it had centred around The Herd more. It seemed like The Herd was just a place. I love when authors are able to make a town or place a character in the book, but that doesn't happen here at all.

There were also characters who could have been developed more, especially Eleanor's husband. It was strange how eventually we don't even hear from him. I think it's important when we have (or attempt to have) strong female characters that it isn't at the cost of strong male characters or the exclusion of male characters. Even the ending could have been fleshed out more because there was potential for it to have had more of an impact.

I like books, especially thrillers, that keep me guessing. While I'm glad I read The Herd and I didn't have it all figured out, at the same time, there were several occasions where I saw possibilities for the story to be even better. I may go back and read Andrea Bartz' debut novel and see what it's all about.

Bookworm Rating: 🐛🐛🌱

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