Alex Finlay’s What Have We Done is the type of thriller that should come with a seatbelt and safety goggles. Finlay wastes not one page before throwing readers into a tailspin, sending his plot off in a direction readers could hardly expect. By that point—again, just a few page turns into this novel—readers are hooked and there is no stopping until the cover is closed for good. In any discussion of the “one-sit read,” What Have We Done by Alex Finlay could easily serve as exhibit number one.
In order to avoid spoilers, only the barest minimum about What Have We Done can be said. Twenty-Five years ago, a group of friends who reside at Savior House—a group home for parentless teens—take turns aiming and firing a gun into a recently dug grave before joining together to bury the evidence. As the novel opens, someone has discovered their secret and all of their lives are in danger.
Told in chapters from the view point of three of those kids, who are now adults scattered around the country, along with a few other POVs that must be discovered via the reading, What Have We Done is fast-paced and gripping. Alex Finlay starts by keeping the reader wrong-footed with some epic reveals about the lives of these characters today. Jenna, in particular, has quite the story to tell. The other two primary storytellers are: Donnie, a member of a successful rock band that is no longer in their prime, and Nico, a television producer currently working on a popular reality series documenting the difficult struggles of coal miners. Like Jenna, both of them hold scars from their youth.
Readers quickly learn that another member of the Savior House group—Benny—recently passed away. It is the combination of the unusual circumstances of Benny’s death and a series of strange and dangerous occurrences in their own lives that clue them all into the fact that someone from their past is hot on their trails. What follows is a series of action-packed scenes and complex revelations that will see the group reunited back at the now-closed Pennsylvania group home—the scene of the event that has haunted their entire lives.
With short chapters and multiple cliff-hangers throughout, What Have We Done is an easy read designed to be consumed as quickly as possible. But even with the pacing, Alex Finlay doesn’t forgo character development. With just a few well-chosen traits and character arcs that show growth, readers will bond with this misfit group and hopefully leave the book feeling as though they have made some new friends.
Alex Finlay is an author who has made quite the splash with only a few novels under his belt. This is mainly due to his ability to craft relatable storylines that rarely unfurl in expected manner. Each of his novels is unique and may seem to appeal to different types of readers, but they are linked by their originality and willingness to try new things. What Have We Done is just the latest example from Alex Finlay and readers looking for a fast and unforgettable reading experience should definitely seek it out.
Disclaimer: A finished copy of this title was provided to BOLO Books by the publisher. No promotion was promised and the above is an unbiased review of the novel.