With office bullying and sexual harassment at its core, The Pact by Amy Heydenrych is a hard hitting, intriguing novel. It is an intense read full of dark twists.
All the way through reading this novel I felt that its title, The Pact was not quite right. However it wasn’t until I reached the very end that I realised why it is actually called this; and believe me, I’ve changed my mind. The Pact is a very clever title for this book.
The story opens with Nicole’s neighbours hearing a ‘high-pitched shriek‘, ‘laughter turned hysterical‘, ‘inappropriate for a weeknight‘ but ‘Nothing to cause alarm.’ The neighbours don’t realise that Nicole is being brutally murdered.
Nicole has a back story – in life she was an office bully. Consumed with jealousy towards her colleague Freya who started dating her ex boyfriend Jay, Nicole was intent on making Freya’s life a misery. Pushed to the limit, Freya confides in Jay about the bullying and together they concoct a revenge prank. It is that same night that Nicole is murdered.
Did the prank that Freya and Jay play have anything to do with Nicole’s murder? But then Freya becomes the victim of a similar prank and starts to wonder if she is in danger too.
I did enjoy The Pact and there is no doubt about it, this novel brings to the fore uncomfortable societal issues. Not just the blatant sexual harassment that runs right through the core of this novel, but also how women are often objectified in everyday society and are attacked using derogatory sexualised terms:
Words like slut and bitch will be thrown around carelessly, without thought to the woman she was.
However for me I felt The Pact lost momentum at times and the plot was maybe not as tight as it could have been. I also felt that the characters were a bit two dimensional – apart from Isla. Feisty, vulnerable and brave, for me Isla is the true heroine of the story.
The Pact is a thought-provoking, sinister novel that does confront dark, societal issues. I also think it would be great adapted for the screen.
The Pact is published on Thursday 28 November 2019.
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