Please note that I received this book via NetGalley. This did not affect my rating or review. This book will be released on August 6, 2019.
Well this was a shame. I was looking forward to this one because having an author follow the two possible paths a potential car jacking victim could go sounded so intriguing. Too bad that Manning didn’t just focus on the main protagonist and added in POVs from so many people. Also I got so confused after a while if I was following Gem as survivor or Gem as warrior.
“The Victim” follows Gem Golding. Gem stops on her way home to get some painkillers and is accosted by a carjacker. Gem reels wondering if she should fight back or should she just acquiesce with the carjacker’s demands. We get at the decision point and from there Manning follows Gem’s life if she given in or if she had fought back.
At first I really liked the book. I liked Gem and understood why she was so focused on not being seen as a victim (in either timeline) and getting back to her job. I wish that Manning had stayed more focused on her since the whole point of the book was Gem and how her life was impacted. Manning then shows the different timelines for the same people (her boyfriend, the carjacker, the detectives, the reporter, and others) who follow if Gem was a victim or a survivor.
There was way too much going on and I had to keep going back and forth in my Kindle to make sure I was reading it correctly if Gem was a victim or survivor. After a while I just gave up and started to feel frustrated because it was hard to follow what was going on. Manning should have stripped out the other characters. We focused way too much on the carjacker who apparently went to how to be a serial killer school.
The writing was okay, but I think the scattered shot approach to everyone didn’t work real well. I was disappointed in the conclusion of one of the story-lines (Gem as a survivor) and think that Manning should have followed up with an epilogue on both of those story-lines. However, I don’t think it mattered to him much, since as I said, Gem wasn’t really the focus as she should have been.
The flow was up and down throughout. Following so many people and different story-lines depending on which version of Gem we were with in the book was just confusing and definitely impacted what was going on. It didn’t help that we had subplots going on with the detectives and carjacker and reporter as well. The boyfriend POVs don’t really count considering how short they were.
The ending was a meh to one story-line with Gem and a “I guess” to the other one following her.