Thanks to NetGalley and Ballantine Books for providing an eARC in exchange for an honest review.
Release Date: July 27th, 2021
Synopsis: The eyes aren’t the windows to the soul. Emails are.
Cassie Woodson is adrift. After suffering an epic tumble down the corporate ladder, Cassie finds the only way she can pay her bills is to take a thankless temp job reviewing correspondence for a large-scale fraud suit. The daily drudgery amplifies all that her life is lacking—love, friends, stability—and leaves her with too much time on her hands, which she spends fixating on the mistakes that brought her to this point.
While sorting through a relentless deluge of emails, something catches her eye: the tender (and totally private) exchanges between a partner at the firm, Forest Watts, and his enchanting wife, Annabelle. Cassie knows she shouldn’t read them. But it’s just one look. And once that door opens, she finds she can’t look away.
Every day, twenty floors below Forest’s office, Cassie dissects their emails from her dingy workstation. A few clicks of her mouse and she can see every adoring word they write to each other. By peeking into their apparently perfect life, Cassie finds renewed purpose and happiness, reveling in their penchant for vintage wines, morning juice presses, and lavish dinner parties thrown in their stately Westchester home. There are no secrets from her. Or so she thinks.
Her admiration quickly escalates into all-out mimicry, because she wants this life more than anything. Maybe if she plays make-believe long enough, it will become real for her. But when Cassie orchestrates a “chance” meeting with Forest in the real world and sees something that throws the state of his marriage into question, the fantasy she’s been carefully cultivating shatters. Suddenly she doesn’t simply admire Annabelle—she wants to take her place. And she’s armed with the tools to make that happen. (Goodreads)
Just One Look is a completely over-the-top, unbelievable read, that’s so much fun that I challenge anyone not to feel compelled to read it in one or two sittings!
Cassie, the anti heroine in this twisted tale, is a wee little bit unhinged. Something happened that derailed her once promising career in corporate law, and now the only job she can get is as a temp. Part of the mystery is what exactly happened in the past, and Cameron tantalizingly leaves clues throughout the book. Without giving away any spoilers, once Cassie’s transgression that precipitated her fall from grace was revealed, I actually felt more sympathy toward her than I did in the beginning. In the present, Cassie’s instability is made worse by her drinking and she begins spiraling out of control. Like Joe Goldberg in Caroline Kepnes’ You series, you can’t help reluctantly wanting Cassie to have a happy ending, hopefully which will also get her some much needed psychological help.
Diametrically opposed to the hot mess that Cassie and her life have become, is the seemingly perfect couple of Forest Watts and his lovely wife Annabelle. Or are they? As we all know, appearances can be deceiving, and in this case all is definitely not as it seems. I humbly admit that I did not see the twists that upended this story until right before they occurred. While the first half of the book is a slow burn set up, the second half is more like a runaway train, and the ending had me laughing and doing a facepalm at the same time.
Just One Look is an exciting debut from Lindsay Cameron, and another book that I’ll be shocked if it’s not adapted for film. I guarantee it will be one of the more buzz-worthy reads of the summer and I highly recommend it for fans of authors like Caroline Kepnes, Liv Constantine, Paula Hawkins, and Gillian Flynn.