Named one of 2022’s best and most-anticipated thrillers by Goodreads, CrimeReads, Motherly, Westport Magazine, and more!
A “propulsive thriller about secret organizations, hidden agendas, and the lengths one woman will go to reclaim her life” (Laura Dave, author of Reese’s Book Club Pick The Last Thing He Told Me) from USA TODAY bestselling author Catherine McKenzie.
At thirty-nine, Nicole Mueller’s life is on the rocks. Her once brilliant law career is falling apart. She and her husband, Dan, are soon to be forced out of the apartment they love. After a warning from her firm’s senior partners, she receives an invitation from an exclusive women’s networking group, Panthera Leo. Membership is anonymous, but every member is a successful professional. It sounds like the perfect solution to help Nicole revive her career. So, despite Dan’s concerns that the group might be a cult, Nicole signs up for their retreat in Colorado.
Once there, she meets the other women who will make up her Pride. A CEO, an actress, a finance whiz, a congresswoman: Nicole can’t believe her luck. The founders of Panthera Leo are equally as impressive. They explain the group’s core philosophy: they’re a girl’s club in a boy’s club world.
Nicole is all in. And when she gets home, she soon sees dividends. Her new network quickly provides her with clients that help her relaunch her career, and a great new apartment too. The favors she has to provide in return seem benign. But then she’s called to the congresswoman’s apartment late at night where she’s pressed into helping her cover up a crime. And suddenly, Dan’s concerns that something more sinister is at play seem all too relevant. Can Nicole extricate herself from the group before it’s too late? Or will joining Panthera Leo be the biggest mistake of her life?
What’s it about (in a nutshell):
Please Join Us by Catherine McKenzie is a dark and twisted psychological thriller about Nicole Mueller’s opportunity to level the playing field in a man’s world.
Initial Expectations (before beginning the book):
The cover is fascinating. It reminds me of an old tv screen that’s on an antenna and not coming in properly. I can’t even begin to imagine what the cover tells me about the story, but it intrigues me nonetheless. I like the sound of a girls’ club in a boys’ club world since I’m all about empowering women, but the description describes something that may be too good to be true due to unrealistic expectations of the illegal and immoral kind.
Actual Reading Experience:
This is one of those stories that the less I say, the better your reading experience, so I will keep it brief.
I am both bothered and awed that this story takes women’s empowerment to a dark and devious place from which I wondered if there is any retuning. A girls’ club with equal power to the boys club is impressive, but is it good if it gets down in the mud with the boys? You will have to read this story to figure that out for yourself.
I loved the dark, creepy, and twisted ending most of all. It’s everything I didn’t know I wanted from the ending and so fun in that dark way. I always appreciate a good ending, and the darker and creepier in psychological thrillers, the better.
The twists and turns are out of this world, and the intelligence behind each move blew my mind. I love a smartly detailed plot with subterfuge and intelligence leading the way, and boy, this story delivered more than I ever could imagine. It all worked together to tell this deceptively dark story from the smallest detail to the bigger picture.
Nicole Mueller is the main character and narrator. She is married to a loving husband, Dan, and they live in a rent-controlled apartment owned by Dan’s great-aunt. Driven and determined are two words that come to mind immediately when thinking about her. She knows she is working in a man’s world and will successfully navigate it until she can’t.
Narration & Pacing:
Please Join Us is told in a dual timeline through Nicole’s first-person narration. It flows beautifully and never gets confusing about which timeline you’re in. The pacing is my favorite which is very focused and fast from start to finish. There is no putting this book down. Even once you finish, you will feel compelled to hold on to it a bit longer while you process what you read.
The story is set in New York City, which suits it as the main character is a successful lawyer who graduated from an Ivy League school. I enjoyed how the author utilized different aspects of city life to increase the tension, and they were believable, which helped the pace stay very fast.
What It Reminds Me Of:
It reminded me of The Firm in many ways.
To Read or Not to Read:
If you are looking for a dark and twisted psychological thriller that will reverberate long after you close the book for the final time, Please Join Us is one you won’t want to miss.
Overall Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
- Originality: ⭐⭐💫
- Writing Quality: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
- Pace : ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
- Character Development: ⭐⭐💫
- ‘Couldn’t Put It Down’-ness: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
- Use of Setting: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐