What Have We Done by Alex Finlay #BookReview #Thriller

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, having forged a bond through the abuse and neglect they endured as residents of Savior House, a 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 accomplished—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 survive, the group will have to revisit the nightmares of their childhoods and confront their shared 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.

What Have We Done is both an edge-of-your-seat thriller and a gut-wrenching coming-of-age story. And it cements Alex Finlay as one of the new leading voices in thrillers today.

Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for a free advanced copy of this book to read and review.

What’s it about (in a nutshell):

What Have We Done by Alex Finlay is a fast-paced thriller about the past coming back to haunt four people who spent time in the same group home as children.

My Reading Experience:

What a twisty-turny thriller What Have We Done turned out to be. The story takes a different direction when each past and present secret is slowly unveiled. I love a thriller that keeps me guessing, so I enjoyed that aspect of this story most.

Other aspects take a bit of a leap to buy into, such as the possibility that four foster children would grow up to achieve the types of successes that these four did. And also that no adults would have figured out the big reveal while it was happening. But I had no trouble making that leap and enjoying the story.

The story held my attention without fail from beginning to end, aided by the rapidly alternating points of view. I didn’t have a chance to become bored or dwell on more challenging aspects. What Have We Done is a highly entertaining read that is not believable but has terrific twists and turns to provide the ultimate thrill ride.


None of the characters are well-developed in the present-day plot line, though I felt I saw a bit more growth in the past plot line and would have liked to experience

more overall. It is like each character is almost a caricature of the profession they are or were in as an adult. This story is a much more plot-driven story than it is character driven.

Narration & Pacing:

The narration switches focus between three of the former group home friends and also goes back into their group home days and returns to their present-day problems. The short chapters and the switches in time and perspective keep the pace very quick from beginning to end. I enjoyed the speed and the multiple mysteries that switching timelines created.

Read if you like:

  • Fast-paced, entertaining thrillers
  • Plot-driven stories
  • Plenty of twists and turns

Overall Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Writing Quality9
Character Development5
‘Couldn’t Put It Down’-ness8
Use of Setting7
All scores, except the overall rating, are on a scale of 1-10. The overall rating is converted to the standard 5-point system.

25 Replies to “What Have We Done by Alex Finlay #BookReview #Thriller”

  1. Lovely review, Tessa. I enjoyed this one too. I thought it dragged a bit in places. I agree that it was more of a plot driven story than a character story

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Adding toy TBR! I’m searching a good thriller and this one looks really good. Great review, thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Ooh, I’ve been looking forward to your review. I completely agree about the characters, you didn’t root for one over the other. Glad you enjoyed this one!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. This one had me intrigued the first time I saw it. I’m tempted, despite the lack of character development. Now, if I can make room on my sprawling TBR!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Several years ago, I watched a show called Game of Silence which I really liked (so, of course, it only got one season). The premise of it sounds similar to this novel, though I suspect the two are wildly different. I think I’d like more character development, too. Thanks for sharing the pros and cons, Tessa.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think more character development with a character to root for or at least empathize with would have taken this story from good to exceptional.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. That’s why I’m struggling with the book I’m reading. I love the plot line, and want to find out who is responsible, but I can’t root for one character. The other would be the way female detectives are shown.


  7. I usually enjoy stories with a past/present setting, and this sounds like a good one. I remember being interested in it when you listed in on your WWW.


  8. Amazing review, Tessa! I always like one of the two timeline more than the other. It’s very rare both are perfect. This sounds gripping and thrilling even though character didn’t feel developed.


  9. Great review, Tessa. I am easily able to suspend belief and take that leap in fiction, as long as it is plausible. Interesting that the last book I read by Alex Finlay also dealt with children that had been in the foster system and had a troubled past. I wonder why that theme?


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