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The Hive, Gregg Olsen: A Review

I'm a fan of Olsen's writing, so when I saw The Hive was available to request, I was thrilled to be approved and quickly dove in. Following the death of her mentor and partner, Lindsay is tasked with investigating the death of a young woman found naked at a nearby hiking trail. When she discovers that the woman was a student journalist investigating a cold case connected to Spellman Farm, a cult-like beauty enterprise run by Marnie Spellman and her inner circle the Hive, she realizes that appearances aren't all that they seem to be; and to get to the bottom of the case, she's going to have to dig into the decades-old mysteries--as well as her own insecurities.

I really enjoyed this book. In terms of a procedural, Lindsay struck me as authentic and relatable. I liked her voice the most out of all the narrative directions, and I appreciated her arc as she struggles with grief and her newly-independent identity. The case itself was structured well, and Olsen did a wonderful job keeping the plot flowing with many moving parts and points of view. With brief chapters of background information, it was a long read that went quickly. I finished this one over the course of a few days, but I was able to be engrossed by it every time I picked it up. I also thought the strands wove together well, combining the cold case with the current events effortlessly. Marnie's philosophies had just enough of that eccentric feel to be plausible and enticing and utterly ridiculous, and the execution highlights the dangers not of a beauty regimen, but of an enigmatic leader taking advantage of people in emotionally, mentally, and physically vulnerable states. With all the emerging cult reads this year, I think this one will find a groove with many readers. I figured out the mystery early on, and I wished the ending hadn't read like a Where Are They Now? summary, but it was succinct and answered any follow-up questions I had, and I think there will be some people who like the brevity of the conclusion after the events unfold. Overall, The Hive is an entertaining, enlightening examination of cult-like mentalities and the lasting repercussions these groups can cause. I'd recommend to fans of light suspense, mysteries with strong female leads, fans of The Sinner, or anyone interested in cult dynamics. Thank you to Thomas and Mercer and NetGalley for providing an eARC in exchange for honest review consideration.

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