Cover Image: Jane Doe

Jane Doe

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

Thank you Netgalley for my free review copy in exchange for an honest review. 

Jane is a psychopath. She knows it and embraces it. 

I immediately was sucked into this book. Jane is such an interesting character. She wants revenge and no one is going to stop her. As the novel goes on, we get to know Jane and her reasons for revenge. 

I could not put this book down! I have to agree with fellow a bookstagrammer, she compared Jane to Joe from YOU. I can definitely see the comparison. They are both psychopaths that you are rooting for. The book is told through Jane's perspective and I wouldn't have it any other way. This is definitely a thriller that will stand out to me. It is different and memorable. I will be reading more of Victoria Helen Stone.

I found the story refreshing because it was not full of twists and turns- it was not some shocking ending. It was just a great character and story line. There are so many thrillers out there that are the same, this was different and engaging. 

This review is also posted to Goodreads and my instagram jaylamm.reads.
Was this review helpful?
I loved this book. Jane is smart and sassy, and dark. This is one of my favourite recent reads for sure.
Was this review helpful?
Let’s cut straight to the chase here: this novel isn’t written with an eye towards literature. If we’re strictly focused on the writing, it’s probably a 3. Rarely do I make it through a book that I’m enjoying without stopping regularly to highlight beautiful turns of phrase and philosophical tidbits, yet my copy of Jane Doe is nearly pristine in its lack of notations.
So then how did I come to like this so much? I think maybe it’s precisely because it is so quick-paced and searing. There’s no flourish, but there’s also no fat to trim. It’s cut and dry, remorseless, just like the titular character. And there’s a certain kind of art to this ostensible artlessness. Writers often fall prey to their own pens (proverbially, given the whole digital age). How often do you find yourself reading something and thinking “what the hell is this author even saying?”, or taken out of the narrative because the wording is so pretty and attention-seeking? Writers fall in love with their words as much or more as any of their devoted readers, resulting in books that are bloated to the point that the plot is beyond recognition. Or else, on kind of the opposite side of the same spectrum, authors are trying to hit that word count— a phenomenon that is especially prevalent in this particular genre, where publishers are cranking these things out for the hungry masses.
Jane is a self-described sociopath, with a vague plan to take, or at least ruin, the life of the man responsible for emotionally terrorizing her best friend, Meg. I laughed out loud several times at Jane’s calculated, understated subversion. I loved her unapologetic behavior, her acknowledgement that she was confident even while she feigned feminine modesty and drama. This character-playing-a-character added just the right amount of depth, providing a sort of cultural commentary between the lines that never overwhelms or distracts from the story or its characters.
Rating: 4/5 stars
Was this review helpful?
I really really liked this.

On the surface, it’s the story of a woman hellbent on revenge for the suicide of her best friend, Meg. Her target: Meg’s abusive ex-boyfriend, Steven.

Jane leaves her expensive high-powered lawyer life in Kuala Lumpur behind, and moved to Minneapolis, giving herself a month or so to infiltrate Steven’s life and make him wish he’d never been born.

But when you look past the surface, when you go a little bit deeper, you see that this is actually a novel of patriarchy-smashing awesomeness, as well as a giant middle finger to the hypocrisy of Evangelical Christians.

my point is this:

Jane is a self-diagnosed sociopath. She thinks that means she’s a bad apple, not a good person, inherently cruel and what good luck she has that she’s not the type of sociopath that murders people.

But the truth is, Jane isn’t evil, she’s just different.

She has no time for the abuse toxic people in our lives can make us complacent to – to her family that means she’s a bitch. But to me, that makes her a hero. She loves in her own way, she feels in her own way. Her empathy might be lacking, but that doesn’t mean she’s inherently evil, though that is how she casts herself to the reader.

She’s bad. She wants revenge.

No. The truth is, she’s the good guy.

The bad guys are the Churchies who think they’re better than everyone else because they’re Churchies.

If you are a generally a good person who would protect her friends and take care of family, but you don’t believe in a higher power and are “different” in any way that is deemed not acceptable by the Churchies, then you are automatically a bad person that needs to be saved. You are automatically looked down upon by those around us who have decided they are doing things the right way.

If you are a bad person, if you preach hate and misogyny and diminish the lives of the people around you because they are different in some way that you just don’t like, it’s a-ok as long as you go to church on Sundays and can find a bible passage that probably gives you an excuse that lets you convince yourself it’s okay to keep being a bad person.

This whole book is set up to expose this hypocrisy and I LOVED IT. Every minute.

So, why only four stars instead of five?

Because I wanted more of diabolical Jane.

My biggest problem with this book was that Jane was flying by the seat of her pants when it came to her plan for revenge. I would have really love to see her playing small but shady, anonymous games with Steven and his father as she worked out the bigger picture. I wanted to see Steven tormented a little bit more and Jane enjoying it a little bit more, displaying more of a calculating mind than she did.

The plan comes together in the end, but not until about the 85% mark. I would have loved more buildup in suspense and revenge as we got to the big finale.

Other than that, Jane is one of my favourite characters I’ve read this year, and Steven was one of the most infuriating assholes I’ve read in a long time. His piss-poor abusive behaviour was on the nose. As was Stone’s pointed commentary on feminist issues.  The writing was good, the story flowed, the relationships worked. It was all just detailed enough to bring you into the scene without overloading you with graphic, sexual imagery.

A seriously awesome book, that could have stood to be just a smidgen more sinister in the revenge aspect.
Was this review helpful?
“Not all monsters are terrifying. Some of them are so tedious they’ll just make you wish for death.”

I’m more than aware that I’m the outlier here. Jane Doe has been receiving positive praise well before it’s pub date, and while I can see why, it just didn’t work for me as well as I was expecting. Maybe my expectations were too high going in, but I had some qualms along the way. That being said, I still enjoyed reading this story from beginning to end.

Written in quick, witty banter, Jane Doe follows 30-year-old Jane, a secretly successful businesswoman and self-proclaimed sociopath, with a vengeance for the man who pushed her best friend to suicide. With a plan to ruin Steven as payback, Jane gets a job at his insurance company, and seduces herself into his life. The novel is written in short, easy thoughts by Jane, most of which lack emotion or regard for other people. It was fun to read and I was a big fan of Jane’s sarcasm. I was also once involved in an emotionally abusive relationship, so I understood why Jane would want “revenge” on the man who pushed her best friend to the edge. I can’t imagine any reader not being on Jane’s side; Stone successfully convinced the reader to truly hate the antagonist, Steve.

In regards to Jane’s sociopathy, too often we were simply “told” that she is a sociopath, and rarely ever “shown.” She repeats several times that she can not form real emotions or relationships, but not enough scenes convey this fact enough. In fact, the repetition of these tellings sort of got a little boring. “The world seems like it’d be an unbearable place for people with real feelings.” Also, I was pretty disappointed in the ending. With such a promising build up, I was expecting something much more action-packed, evil, or violent, but it kind of fell flat for me. The final scene was also “bleh” in my unpopular opinion. I just didn’t feel like I got the ending I was hoping for. I did enjoy reading Jane Doe, but I don’t think it would ever be a recommendation from me.
Was this review helpful?
Jane is officially my favorite sociopath. She "loves" cats and reading. Plus she is very loyal to her closest friends and will do anything for them. I loved this book and absolutely loved Jane. I was sad when it ended because I wanted to go on more of her adventures. I loved the way she narrated the book. I could definitely see this book as a movie.

Jane is in Minneapolis and taking time off from her job in Malaysia. She told them carrying for a dying relative, but that is so far from the truth. Her best friend, Meg, is dead. Jane is there to get revenge on the man who caused her friend's death. Jane is a sociopath and knows it. Throw in Luke, an old boyfriend from college and a cat with no name and you get a wonderfully creepy story starring Jane. 

I loved everything about this book- the story, characters and writing style. Jane was my favorite. I loved how she played with Steven and the way she destroyed him was amazing. I think Jane did know what love is, she did everything to right the wrong that happened to Meg. The book held my interest from the first page until the very end.

Definitely recommend this book and I can't wait to read more by the author.

Thanks to NetGalley, Lake Union Publishing and the author, Victoria Helen Stone, for a free electronic ARC of this novel.
Was this review helpful?
This was such a refreshing read, especially for a psychological thriller. There’s not an unreliable narrator in sight, there are not multiple perspectives and there are zero time jumps. If a book labeled as a psychological thriller doesn’t have all three of those is it even really a psychological thriller?  It should be!  This book consumed my attention from first page to last!

Jane is unapologetically who she is, and she’s a sociopath on a mission. She wants revenge and Steven is her target and she won’t let anything get in her way. She had one of the best voices I’ve encountered in ages, highly unique, she’s funny in a super dry way, she’s cold, manipulative, calculating and cunning and I loved her. I couldn’t help it, I think it goes back to what I said earlier, she doesn’t apologize for who she is, she’s confident and smart and insightfully self aware. She knows she’s not normal, but she doesn’t care, she’s not trying to change and she only pretends to be someone she really isn’t if it serves a greater purpose.

I totally binge read this, I could not wait to see how things played out and if Jane would be successful in all of her plotting and planning. I had so much fun with this and was rooting for Jane so hard, who knew an emotionless sociopath could be so likable? The ending was also great, very strong, a little surprising and super satisfying.
Was this review helpful?
Psychological thriller is a genre that has gained immense popularity in the recent times. Even then, I am new to this genre and am glad I picked this one to start it with.

The story plays out slow and paced out, each action and emotion (or lack of so) explained. Jane is a sociopath and she knows it, and thus has adapted herself to act normal. I loved seeing everything through her eyes.. how she does not understand emotions and why people would enjoy having feelings if they only hurt at the end. But then there are times she feels and is thoroughly confused by it. Inspite of everything, she is driven by her rage against this one person.. the mechanics of her mind.. to devise his downfall.. is fascinating. The thrill she finds in being a part of his life and playing along while scheming the end instead of striking it from the sidelines is totally sinister but perfect for the character. The thirst to see him while his life diminishes to nothingness and to realize why she did so is downright fitting to her character!

The story kept me hooked as there was always something that Jane was plotting and going ahead with.. while looking for a way that associates her lesser and lesser so that she can leave after the perfect crime and continue with her life..

A perfect weekend read for me.. The writing is great.. flow good and ends with a sense of hope and fulfillment despite the glum topic.
Was this review helpful?
Quick, easy thrillers are basically my perfect vacation read, which is exactly when I picked up Jane Doe by Victoria Helen Stone, a novel about Jane, a woman who is pretending to be somebody else so that she can exact revenge on Steven. Steven hurt somebody Jane loved, so she’s going to hurt him back. Badly.

Jane Doe is a pretty straightforward but intriguing story, filled with some scenes which made me not surprised to learn Stone also writes romance novels (under the name Victoria Dahl). Jane is a self-diagnosed sociopath, which means she doesn’t have the same moral concerns other people might, and gives her the ability to be ruthless about what she does. I really enjoyed Jane’s voice, especially her strength and confidence, but I wish there had been more depth and history shared about her character. The bad guys in Jane Doe are also fairly simple, there’s definitely no hesitation about them being pretty bad people. I also felt like the ending was too easy. That said, there were some fun moments, and I think my favourite relationship in the book was the one Jane had with her cat. Overall, it’s very easy to keep turning the pages in Jane Doe so if you’re looking for a fun, fast-paced thriller I do recommend picking this one up.
Was this review helpful?
I got such a kick out of this.   Jane is so very, very wrong!

But wrong as she was, I loved her.  I hoped she would succeed (even though she was trying to succeed at something quite bad), and I hoped she would find happiness.

I won't tell you if she does, of course.   I'll just tell you that even the things that surprised me turned out okay in the end.

I'd very happily read the author again!

*ARC Provided via Net Galley
Was this review helpful?
I've really enjoyed romance novels by Stone under her pain name, Victoria Dahl. So I wanted to give this a try. Admittedly I rarely read thrillers, so this was a bit outside my normal reads.
This was a good not great read. If you follow Dahl on Twitter, this was basically a long form tweet. The story was a little slow to pick up and then when it did, it wasn't as thriller/suspenseful as I expected. 

Spoilers ahead...
I wasn't a fan of Jane being insistent that Steven was fully responsible for Meg's death. Jane does mention this but by the time she does, I was over it. 
I grew tired of Jane talking incessantly about to sociopathy. 
The secret that Jane ended up figuring out was predictable and I figured it out before Jane did. For as smart as she was, I would have thought she would have figured it out sooner. And once she does, it was a bit of a let down. 
The men were either good or very, very bad. It got a little tiring. 

Overall it was an interesting, but not great read.
Was this review helpful?
I want to start by saying that thrillers are not one of my favourite genres of books however, I had been in a bit of a reading slump and a fast-paced thriller is the perfect cure for that and Jane Doe did not disappoint.

This is probably the only thriller that I have ever read that hasn’t left me feeling slightly disappointed. I always devour thrillers as I can’t wait to find out what happens in the end and then when I get there I almost feel deflated. However, the ending of Jane Doe was brilliant. It perfectly wrapped up the story and was that satisfying kind of ending that you never saw coming.

Another reason I don’t usually love thrillers is that the protagonist is always insufferable. They are usually female and suffering from alcohol addiction, mental health issues or with some dark secret from there past which makes them unstable and unreliable. Jane, on the other hand, was such an interesting character. She is a self-diagnosed sociopath incapable of understanding or feeling emotions in the way that others do which makes her such a multi-dimensional character. She also had all the power in this story. We learn quite early on in the book why Jane is set on ruining Steven’s life, but we don’t know how she will do it which is why I think this book works so well. We’re not trying to figure out the whodunnit, we are trying to figure out how far Jane is willing to go.

I also found myself laughing out loud at times when reading this book which is definitely not my usual response to reading a thriller. Stone’s writing is brilliant and extremely witty in parts. I read this book on my Kindle and I found myself highlighting so many quotes so I thought I would include some of them in this post just to give you a taste of Jane’s voice:

“Frankly, fictional people appeal far more to me than real people do. In fiction, the choices have to make sense. The timeline proceeds rationally.”

“Erections and guilt can’t exist in the same place”

“After all, everyone knows that women are responsible for how men behave. If we’re not careful, they might decide to take what they want. They can’t help it. But somehow I’m the one with the psychological impairment.”

“Their penises are God’s divining rods, searching out evil.”

The whole book is narrated from her perspective which works brilliantly. Stone invites us into the mind of a sociopath, but she is a sociopath that the reader ends up rooting for. I would even go as far as to say I liked Jane. Stone set’s Steven up as such a vile character that I almost wished I could join Jane in making his life hell but deeper than this was that Steven is a character that far too many women are very familiar with in real life.  This makes his demise all the more satisfying.

This book is available to buy now and I would definitely recommend this book if you’re into thrillers (or even if you’re not as it was such an interesting read). I really hope Stone considers making this into a series so we get to read more about Jane!
Was this review helpful?
Thank you net galley for this draft for an honest review.

How far would you go to inflict revenge?

Jane has always been the strong 1, the rational 1, and the 1 who doesnt act on feelings. Then her  world is turned upside down after the death of her best friend. 

A gripping story of pain, loss, truth, and revenge

A story through loss you find growth
Was this review helpful?
Really interesting read. I found the characters likeable and the theme intense. Great writing style and strong storyline
Was this review helpful?
"I'll find out firsthand what Steven Hepsworth holds dear. Then I'll figure out how to take it all away from him."

Jane leaves her life and job in Kuala Lumpur and travels to Minnesota to put her plans into motion. She's determined to find and destroy the man whom she holds responsible for her best friend's death. Meg was the only person that Jane has ever really deeply cared about. You see, Jane is a sociopath. And she's very very good at acting. She's spent years perfecting the art of imitating people who truly have emotions and she's now going to play her biggest role yet. NO SPOILERS

What a deliciously nuanced revenge thriller! The narrative sucks you in quickly and it's a very hard book to put down as you are eager to see how Jane makes out in her mission. She's sure a different type of protagonist as we're not used to rooting for sociopaths in this genre as they're usually the bad guys, but I definitely wanted her to succeed and thought the way she handled the family was masterful. Jane is not the typical heroine, and it's likely that you might not even like her very much if you knew her as a relationship would be a lot of work due to her lack of empathy and authentic feeling. But I did like her and I hope she can enjoy her future life in the "fake it till you make it" mode!

I've not read other books by this author, but I'll definitely keep an eye out for any future titles. Thank you to NetGalley and Lake Union Publishing for this e-book ARC to read and review.
Was this review helpful?
Look. I don't know what I thought to expect when I started reading this but..... I WAS NOT READY! Jane was crazy but a good crazy. The imbalanced individual that you need in your corner. She protects what she cares about and she does it at any cost. I could not put this book down. I was so invested in each character. Though I hated so many of them I just wanted to see what was going to happen next.
Was this review helpful?
Every so often I go into a book and I know as soon I as I start reading it that I am going to love it. This was one of those books. 

Jane is living two lives. One as a successful lawyer in Malaysia, where she calls all the shots and is a force to be reckon with. Then there is plain Jane from Minnesota. Jane from Minnesota wears frumpy clothes, is docile and works at an insurance company as a data entry clerk.

Jane is living two lives for one reason and one reason only. To get revenge. Steven Hepsworth is her target. He also works at the insurance company. He is a preachers son. He appears to be a well rounded individual. Stephen may not be as he appears and Jane knows it. Jane knows all his secrets. Even though Jane has just met him. Will Jane take revenge too far? Will things turn deadly? Jane is a self proclaimed sociopath and even she isn't sure how far she will go. "I have never killed anyone. I am not that kind of sociopath. But you never know. Desperate times."

I have read some excellent books lately, but most have been slow burns. Taking off and becoming a 4 or 5 star read at about the half way point. Not Jane! Jane had me right from the start. Somehow this author managed to make a suspenseful thriller with a sociopath who is hilarious. There are so many great lines in this book it is too many to count. I found myself actually laughing out loud, literally. This book was so hard to put down that I have to let you in on a funny fact. I went to the eye doctor yesterday and they surprised me by saying I needed my eyes dilated. The first thought I had was NOOOOOO! I am 70% done with Jane, you can't do this to me. Well they didn't care much about Jane. As soon as I could focus my eyes, I got right back to reading about Jane. 

This is a must read in my opinion! I loved this book. I am looking forward to reading more from this author. 5 fabulous stars from me! 

Thank you so much to Victoria Helen Stone, Lake Union Publishing and NetGalley for the opportunity to read this fantastic book!
Was this review helpful?
This book was not at all what I thought it was going to be…it was much better!  The author has a very astute view of men’s and women’s roles in today’s society, and she uses her protagonist, Jane, to point out the inequities and hypocrisies.  Jane’s ire is saved for one person, and her snarky, sarcastic asides on particular events and interactions save the observations from becoming feminist rhetoric.  The characters are very vivid, as is the language that the author uses to illustrate her scenes (Jane has contempt for a “color theme of mud and s***” – which made me laugh).  The plot is excellent and moves at a brisk pace. We know that Jane has ulterior motives for her actions from the very start, but the reasons for those motives unfold naturally and appropriately.  The author also deftly weaves Jane’s realizations about herself into the main action, so that there are no moments of “wait, how did that happen?”.  This book had me reading until after 2:00am, because I wanted to see how Jane’s plan panned out (mainly, I really wanted to be able to throat punch the villain more than a few times).  Oh, and bonus points for the cat on top of the cabinet (that is literally where mine is right now as I do this review)!   I highly recommend this book. Thank you to NetGalley, Lake Union Publishing, and the author for a digital ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
Meet Jane.  Jane is a sociopath.  She loved one person and that person is dead.  Jane wants revenge.
Meet Steven.  Steven is a middle class entitled white boy.  I hope Jane kills him.
I loved this book.  Jane is a lovable sociopath and you want her to win.  Steven is the villain and you want to see him crushed.  The author does a great job making the characters believable.  I have to give it 4.5 stars because I didn’t love the ending.  I recommend this book to anyone who wants a quick thriller.
Was this review helpful?
Thanks for the early review copy!

I recommend this novel to fans of mystery novels. It was well-written and interesting novel.
Was this review helpful?