Star Rating: 3
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press, Minotaur Books
Date of publication: March 7th, 2023
Genre: Thriller, Mystery, Mystery Thriller, Fiction, Suspense, Adult, Contemporary, Horror, Audiobook, Psychological Thriller
Trigger Warning: Gun Violence, Violence, Addiction, Bullying, Child Death, Murder, Rape (implied), Sexual Assualt (implied), Trafficking (off page)
Purchase Links: Kindle | Audible | B&N | AbeBooks | WorldCat
A stay-at-home mom with a past.
A has-been rock star with a habit.
A reality TV producer with a debt.
Three disparate lives.
One deadly secret.
Twenty five years ago, Jenna, Donnie, and Nico were the best of friends, a bond forged as residents of Savior House, an abusive group home for parentless teens. When the home was shut down—after the disappearance of several kids—the three were split up.
Though the trauma of their childhood has never left them, each went on to live successful, if troubled, lives. They haven’t seen one another since they were teens but now are reunited for a single haunting reason: someone is trying to kill them.
To save their lives, the group will have to revisit the nightmares of their childhoods and confront their past—a past that holds the secret to why someone wants them dead.
It’s a reunion none of them asked for… or wanted. But it may be the only way to save all their lives.
At the top of a knoll through a break in the trees, five teenagers stand at the edge of a shallow grave.What Have We Done by Alex Finlay
Twenty-five years ago, five teenagers did something terrible but necessary (in their eyes). After their group home was dissolved, the five were separated and went to successful but troubled lives. Jenna is a stay-at-home mom, Nico is a reality TV producer with a massive gambling debt, Donnie is a rock star, Ben is a respected judge, and Artemis is a billionaire. Their lives are good until suddenly, one day, Ben is killed. Shortly after, Donnie and Nico are injured in accidents that turn out to be hits on their lives.
On the other hand, Jenna is set up for an attempted assassination. With the assassins hot on their trail, the three must go back to where it all began-the group home that they lived in. There, they must face the past and what they did that night. Because all is not what it seems, and the enemy might be closer than they think.
I accepted the publisher’s invitation to read this book because it was a thriller and a mystery. Since I enjoy both, I figured I would like What Have We Done. And I did. But I was captivated by how the author spun Jenna, Nico, Donnie, Ben, and Artemis’s stories. I couldn’t get enough of their backstories.
What Have We Done is told from several different points of view. The main ones are Jenna, Nico, Donnie, and the psychotic twins. This book also goes between past and present but does it fluidly. There were only a couple of times when I couldn’t immediately figure out what was happening and who the chapter was focused on.
The characters in What Have We Done were well-written and well-fleshed out. But I couldn’t connect with Donnie or Nico. They were just too damaged and a little self-centered (ok, a lot self-centered). Jenna was the one I connected with, and I couldn’t wait to read her chapters. I loved seeing her rely on her former assassin skills to outwit the twins. Plus, when her family was threatened, she didn’t run. Nope, she made her husband run with their daughters while she laid a trail away from them.
I do want to mention the psychopathic twins. I shouldn’t have laughed at them, but they bungled everything. They couldn’t kill their objectives (but had no issues killing other people). They were almost cartoonish in their mannerisms. The scene at the very end of the book with Jenna, her ex-handlers, and the remaining twin was pretty awesome!
Of course, I liked seeing them get their just deserts.
The main plotline with Nico, Donnie, and Jenna investigating Ben’s death and trying to figure out if someone found out about what they did twenty-five years earlier was exciting and action-packed. Donnie was a little useless in this storyline (he was busy telling his story to a ghostwriter). Nico and Jenna were the ones who pieced together everything that was happening. I saw a twist in this storyline coming, but it still surprised me.
The alternating storyline at the group home (with Ben, Nico, Donnie, Jenna, and Artemis) was alarming. I was horrified at what those kids were going through and the rate at which the girls in the home disappeared. Some were explained (like Jenna), but the others weren’t until the end of the book. It wasn’t until a crucial scene towards the end of the book that things were revealed. And let’s say that it made me sick. But, this plotline has a huge twist revealed during the showdown as adults. My mouth dropped when that confession was made. I did not see it coming, which both saddened and disgusted me.
The end of What Have We Done was exciting and a little bloody. I will not get into it, but Donnie, Nico, and Jenna figured everything out. The book’s climax was pretty good, and I liked the confession.
I would recommend What Have We Done to anyone over 21. There is violence, language, and sexual situations. Also, see the trigger warnings at the top of the review.
Many thanks to St. Martin’s Press, Minotaur Books, NetGalley, and Alex Finlay for allowing me to read and review What Have We Done. All opinions stated in this review are mine.
If you enjoyed reading this review of What Have We Done, then you will enjoy these books:
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2 thoughts on “What Have We Done by Alex Finlay”
I love Alex Finlay. I just got this on my wish list with AudioBooksNow. I have to get this for sure now. Thanks for sharing, Jolie 😊
You’re welcome and I hope you enjoy it!!!