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Publisher's Summary

"Chilling...this terrific novel is...propelled by an iron-tight plot that becomes increasingly tense." (New York Times Book Review)

"It’s a nerve-shredding, emotionally harrowing ride. Don’t miss it.” (Megan Abbott, New York Times best-selling author)

The USA Today best-selling and Edgar Award-winning author of Never Look Back and If I Die Tonight asks how far a grieving mother will go to right a tragic wrong in this propulsive novel of psychological suspense.

Camille Gardener is a grieving - and angry - mother who, five years after her daughter’s death, is still obsessed with the privileged young man she believes to be responsible.

When her rash actions draw the attention of a secret group of women - the collective - Camille is drawn into a dark web where these mothers share their wildly different stories of loss as well as their desire for justice in a world where privilege denies accountability. Fueled by mutual rage, the collective members devise and act out retribution fantasies via precise, anonymous, highly coordinated revenge killings.

As Camille struggles to comprehend whether this is a role-playing exercise or terrifying reality, she must decide if these women are truly avenging angels or monsters. Becoming more deeply enmeshed in the group, Camille learns truths about the collective - and about herself - that she may not be able to survive.

©2021 Alison Gaylin (P)2021 HarperCollins Publishers

Featured Article: Listening Well Is the Best Revenge—The Best Revenge Thriller Audiobooks


No one among us hasn't imagined what it would be like to right a wrong. And even though it's better to turn the other cheek, forgive, and forget, it's still fun to listen to fictional characters enact their revenge. If you need a balm for a slight you’re still seething over, we’ve created this handy list of the best revenge thriller audiobooks to add to your library. Whether you're rooting for the story’s hero or antagonist, these tales of revenge will have you glued to your seat.

What listeners say about The Collective

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Pretty good. Entertaining but not compelling

The story was a refreshing twist on the usual crime thriller. I appreciated the pace of the story. It didn't wallow in reams of self-dialogue or swirling speculation to fill space. Scene and behavior descriptions were noticeably sparse, which I liked. The story moved forward linearly and sequentially which made it easy to track. At no point did I grow impatient, wanting to skip ahead.

One criticism is the bland language used. Seasoning it with a few witty and memorable quotes, plays on words, unique words, and other such writing tricks would have piqued my imagination and pulled me into the story. The writing described conflict, but I failed to feel the conflict and atmospheric tension. As it were, I felt as though I was an observer watching the narrative unfold from a distance. I'd rather be captured and live in the story. This story was entertaining but not compelling.

Another criticism is that the story seemed highly contrived. For example, when the protagonist came to understand the subversive scheme, it was through a series of small leaps of assumptions over information that necessarily wouldn't be connected.

All that said, the twist at the end blew my mind. And when it was time to end the story, the author ended it without any meandering drive. The narrator did an adequate job. Overall, I think it's a pretty good book.

41 people found this helpful

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Character Sacrificed for Plot

The Collective starts slowly, building a character defined by grief, loss, and the hollowness of ‘moving on’. The text develops slowly as you get to know your protagonist, and there is promise that this book will invest in character development and ethical dilemma. The story begins to build and countless ethical quagmires are raised: is it fair to move on? Who determines what is just? Does one crime justify or forgive another?
Unfortunately, about three quarters of the way through the text, just when all of these ethical dilemmas must be confronted, the text shifts into a cheap action thriller, complete with a threatening villain and a car chase. Rather than confronting the complexities build so far in the text, we pivot away from character development and depth into an action/thriller plot that this text did not need. This text does not leave the reader feeling the pay off that should come from a text about grief and the cost of revenge. It dodges the difficulties it needed to tackle and leaves the reader feeling shorted.

26 people found this helpful

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Riveting and Mind Blowing

Excellent wild ride! I loved every minute of it! I highly recommend listening to it

21 people found this helpful

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Good story, frustrating main character

I started out liking this book, but didn't care for the tone of the narrator. She had an odd angry cadence throughout the entire book. I found the main character to be naive one minute, then frustratingly righteous the next.

19 people found this helpful

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You won’t regret this credit!!!

Amazing and kept me on the edge of my seat!! Haven’t had the best of luck in books lately but this one was welllll worth the credit!!!

19 people found this helpful

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You’ll love this book

I really enjoyed this book. It’s such an interesting story and will keep your attention the whole time. I finished in a few days. Definitely recommend.

12 people found this helpful

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Diabolical Revenge

The book blurb promised the “dark side of justice” and “depths of diabolical revenge,” and WOW, does it deliver.

Camilla is angry, obsessed, and more than a little unhinged. Her daughter died tragically, and Camilla feels her killer got away unpunished. But then she meets a dark group on the dark web – other angry, grieving mothers who are willing to work together to give karma a helping hand (or a nudge off a bridge, as the case may be.).

This isn’t a storyline I gravitate towards, but I selected it for our IRL Book Club. I know the discussion will be off the charts!

The Collective was compulsively readable on @audible. Vivienne Leheny delivers a gritty and raw performance.

10 people found this helpful

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Unique and thrilling

very good story that has an ending that was truly shocking and unexpected. I listened to it instead of watching The Bachelor. 😉

9 people found this helpful

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Great story line with great plot twist!

This was a great book. The only thing was the narrators impressions of more masculine voices.

8 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

first novel of hers not my last

It was great.really kept my attention.my husband even loved it and isn't a reader.narrarater was perfect.

6 people found this helpful