From the bestselling author of LIES comes 29 SECONDS, a sensational new thriller that explores what happens when a split second thought of revenge takes on a life of its own.
“Give me one name. One person. And I will make them disappear.”
Sarah is a young professor struggling to prove herself in a workplace controlled by the charming and manipulative Alan Hawthorne, a renowned scholar and television host. The beloved professor rakes in million-dollar grants for the university where Sarah works—so his inappropriate treatment of female colleagues behind closed doors has gone unchallenged for years. And Sarah is his newest target.
When Hawthorne’s advances become threatening, she’s left with nowhere to turn. Until the night she witnesses an attempted kidnapping of a young child on her drive home, and impulsively jumps in to intervene. The child’s father turns out to be a successful businessman with dangerous connections—and her act of bravery has put this powerful man in her debt. He lives by his own brutal code, and all debts must be repaid. In the only way he knows how. The man gives Sarah a burner phone and an unbelievable offer. A once-in-a-lifetime deal that can make all her problems disappear.
No consequences. No traces. No chance of being found out. All it takes is a 29-second phone call.
Because everyone has a name to give. Don’t they?
“To give me whatsoever I shall ask, / To tell me whatsoever I demand, / To slay mine enemies and aid my friends” – The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus by Christopher Marlowe
Let’s just say right off the bat that when I realized the main character, English professor Dr. Sarah Haywood was a Christopher Marlowe academic, researcher, and instructor, I was giddy. He’s always been my favorite English playwright (sorry, not sorry, Bard) with The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus being my favorite play. I immediately knew she and I would be friends because we have much in common since we both have the same career and interests. I definitely know from personal experience how hard Sarah worked to obtain her Ph.D. while juggling marriage, raising two small children, and building up her reputation as an academic researcher while also researching and publishing the requisite journal articles required of all academics in any university teaching field. It’s soul-sucking at times. Add in a sexual predator who is your department head, and that’s utter hell.
Sarah’s been teaching at Queen Anne University for the past two years and is hoping this is finally the year she’ll receive a promotion to a permanent position. It’s been two years of hard work but exhausting stress thanks to fighting off Professor Alan Hawthorne, who is nothing but a man who uses his position to sexually harass women, but no one at the university will do anything because he brings in too much grant money and has too much clout for the university to risk losing him. Now though, Hawthorne’s upped the pressure on Sarah with threats to her career, and she’s at a loss of what to do―that is until fate throws her into a situation with a man deeply indebted to her. He offers her the chance to make a Faustian bargain to permanently get rid of anyone…all she needs is to give him one name and the deed is done. But can Sarah, an expert in Marlowe, who knows how Faustus’ tragedy ended in damnation and the ethical implications involved cross a line that can never be uncrossed?
Sarah’s situation was horrifying, emotionally and mentally, and I so felt for her. Senior academia in universities is still, by and large, a man’s world with more men teaching than woman and more men in roles of authority, so I truly understood the powerlessness she felt as I’ve had to deal with men similar to Hawthorne in my own career rise to tenure (thankfully NOT to this extent). It’s an old boy’s network of inequality in a system that needs to be fixed, and I felt the impossibility of her situation with every page that I turned. She’s worked so hard to prove herself but no one will listen and moving on to another university is almost career suicide. I honestly asked myself what I would do in her shoes. Would I make a deal with the devil to save my career, my sanity, and rid the world of a monster? When is the ability to have one’s enemies slain like Faustus requests not too big to ask? Will Sarah make such a request? You definitely have to read this one and find out!
29 Seconds is just a fabulous page-turning psychological thriller. I loved Lies by Logan, but I loved 29 Seconds even more. I thought I’d pick it up right before bed, but it was another one of those situations were I was so engrossed in this thrill ride that I was up till the middle of the night to finish it in one sitting―absolutely worth it though! It was well-paced, plotted, and the twists are killer. The ending…it was especially fitting, I felt. Now I can’t wait to read what Logan writes next.
**Thank you, Katie Bassel at St. Martin’s Press for the gifted copy. All opinions are my own.**