When She Was Bad


When She Was Bad, published by Tammy Cohen in 2016, could be called a psychological thriller, but has too little action to fit the definition of thriller.  It’s more of a psychological horror story, in which a fairly random group of not very interesting or attractive people, each with a set of problems, work together in an office at a big company and are subjected to the additional stress of getting a tough new boss.

In alternate chapters we learn about the fraught personal situation of each character.  There is also an additional character, a psychologist who decades earlier was involved in the disposition of two children, a boy and a girl, who had been traumatized by extreme parental abuse.  The suspense is provided by wondering which of the characters in the office is not just dumb or neurotic, but is actually unhinged as a result of his or her childhood experience.

It was well done, if a bit long (377 pages) for a story that had no compelling characters in it.  Maybe the most interesting aspect of it was the picture of workplace relationships, and the way people who wouldn’t be likely to socialize with each other are often forced to develop some sort of relationship because they have to work together.


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