Heather Gudenkauf is one of the most consistent crime novelists working today. For over a decade she has been steadily releasing excellent books that feature strong, relatable characters (mostly women) thrust into compelling mysteries that always seem of-the-moment. Her latest—Everyone is Watching—is no different.

Fans of reality competition shows will find much to love about Everyone is Watching. The plot centers on a new televised show called One Lucky Winner. The premise of this reality show is that five guests will enter a house and compete for ten million dollars. As they enter, they have no idea what to expect—is this more Big Brother or Survivor? What they do know is that it will be live-streamed to the entire world.

Readers are introduced to each of the contestants: The Best Friend, The Confidant, The Senator, The Boyfriend, and The Executive. Fans of Gudenkauf’s style of psychological suspense will expect there to be “connections” between these individuals, so it’s not really a spoiler to say the tangled web here is deep. Readers also meet the show’s creator and her assistant. Each of these characters is given distinct and unique personality traits that will help readers to keep track of this large cast.

Most of the novel is told from three POVs. The Best Friend (whom most readers will consider the “main” character), The Confidant (a psychologist who not only knows a lot, but knows how to manipulate the minds of others), and The Assistant (who hosts the show and has more than a few secrets of her own.)

It quickly becomes clear that the competitions on One Lucky Winner are much more dangerous than those on most reality shows. In fact, a prologue to the novel cuts off just as one contestant aims a gun and fires three shots at another contestant—while the viewing audience around the world watches in shock and horror. (Of course, Heather Gudenkauf waits a while before bringing readers back to that moment for clarification and resolution.)

By isolating all the characters in one location, Gudenkauf has created a closed-circle of suspects. Crime fiction fans will no doubt find themselves thinking about And Then There Were None while reading this undeniably modern take on that genre classic.

The secrets and agendas hidden by each of the characters in Everyone is Watching are your standard fare for these types of narratives. But Heather Gudenkauf knows how to tweak the reader’s expectations ever so slightly to keep her book feeling fresh. The premise of the reality show seems a bit ridiculous, but fans of that genre will admit that it seems like this may be the future—albeit hopefully not with so much death and destruction. But that over-the-top nature of the show makes the complex reality of the contestant’s personal connections all the more believable.

In the end, Everyone is Watching is a fun and fast read that will have readers on the edge of their seats at times and satisfies with a resolution that seems fitting and just—at least for some.

BUY LINKS: Everyone is Watching by Heather Gudenkauf

Disclaimer: A print galley 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.