The Collective

Alison Gaylin

Suspense Thriller

The USA Today bestselling and Edgar Award–winning author of Never Look Back and If I Die Tonight plumbs the dark side of justice and the depths of diabolical revenge in this propulsive novel of psychological suspense that melds the driving narrative of Then She Was Gone with the breathtaking twists of The Chain and the violent fury of Kill Bill.

Just how far will a grieving mother go to right a tragic wrong?

Camille Gardner is a grieving—and angry—mother who, five years after her daughter’s death, is still obsessed with the privileged young man she believes to be responsible.

When her rash actions attract the attention of a secret group of women—the collective—Camille is drawn into a dark web where these mothers share their wildly different stories of loss as well as their desire for justice in a world where privilege denies accountability and perpetrators emerge unscathed. Fueled by mutual rage, these women orchestrate their own brand of justice through precise, anonymous, complexly plotted and perfectly executed revenge killings, with individual members completing a specific and integral task in each plan.

As Camille struggles to comprehend whether this is a role-playing exercise or terrifying reality, she must decide if these women are truly avenging angels or monsters. Becoming more deeply enmeshed in the group, Camille learns truths about the collective—and about herself—that she may not be able to survive.

-Excerpt taken from Goodreads.

Check Goodreads to see the book’s ratings.

My Opinion

“All of us will experience loss in our lives. We will cry until we have no tears left and then we will hurt even more. Even for the luckiest of us, life is mostly pain with moments of happiness just to keep us vertical.”

4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5) Just how far will a mom go for her child? This book explores just that and it kept me on the edge of my seat the entire time.

Camille is grieving her daughters death that occurred tragically, but she doesn’t believe it was an accident. A young privileged man is to blame and she will do anything in her power to see justice. This grief leads her to a grieving moms group. The group is of mom’s that have had their children killed by another. They are full of rage and the need for justice. Soon Camille finds out that these women will help her get just that.

“What we did wasn’t murder, it was justice.”

Oh this was an intense story! The grief was palpable, the anger was intense and these women were fascinating. “I raise my glass to karma, which I’m realizing is sometimes a group effort.” This group brings in danger and a lot of unknowns but Camille never felt so alive, so vindicated. Then after a series of events, she starts to question the actions the group. I could just see a wild train wreck coming their way but I could not stop reading. I was still rooting for them to succeed! It was hard to break away from this story and it kept me fully entertained. I’m impressed the author could make me feel so many opposing emotions and even root for the unlawful “justice” to happen.

What a crazy, thrilling ride!

General content summary: F words= 24

Anxiety and medication 


Death (previous fall down stairs)

Organ donation (previous)

Many women who have had children killed

Young teen raped and killed (previous, few details)

Apparent suicide (homemade bomb,  no details)

Sex trafficking (drugs, death/suivide, previous)

Death (shot in previous hunting accident)

Bullying (physically at school)

LGBTQ (transgender child mistreated by school and peers)

Rape (previous, for being transgender, allegedly many college girls)

Suicide (teen with few details and previous, another as an adult with few detsils)

Murders (many planned and executed with few details)

Suicide contemplation (brief, plan)

Man is hit by a large truck and killed (few details, blood)

Sedative given unwillingly 

Knife threat 

Fall from a large height (alleged suicide)

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