Cover Image: This is How We End Things

This is How We End Things

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Member Reviews

When a psych grad student is murdered on campus, her fellow researches as well as her lover/professor are all suspects. Their area of research is deception and they all have something to hide.

This was a well written thriller with the right amount of tension. Told from multiple viewpoints that change often helped keep the pace of the story moving and kept it interesting. A few minor inconsistencies/plot holes, but nothing that ruined the story for me.

Thank you to Netgalley for providing an advance copy of this book!

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Solid 3 stars. There are twists and turns, however it fell just a little flat for me. Maybe I expected more on the science of lying and deciept. Maybe I suspected who the killer was as he stepped on the scene.
I may have known who but I had to read to find out the how and why.
I would recommend for a quick mystery read.
Thank you, Netgalley, publisher, and author for the ARC.

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My first RJ Jacobs read but definitely not my last! I totally enjoyed this one. Captivating from the very beginning and just never let go! This was full of secrets, lies, tension and twists. Such great characters that kept me invested the entire time. Highly recommend
Thank you NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review this book

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Thank you Netgalley for the ARC! As my favorite genre happens to be psychological thriller, I was very keen on getting into this book right away. It started off a bit slow, and I feared it would end up as one I would kind of get bored with and DNF. But it sucked me in eventually and had me trying to guess who did what and how things were going to end up! Definitely a good read for those who like titles that keep you guessing, might have a slow build up, and those who don’t mind sticking with a book while it slowly builds things.

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A bit of a slow burner at the start but pace starts to pick up about halfway through. Although it also becomes quite evident who the culprit it about three quarters of the way through the book so the last part is just waiting to see how the pieces fall into place.

The central group of characters are palatable, noone particularly stands out or feels irksome. Although a couple of them felt surplus to requirement, not really adding much to the storyline.

Although the book is based around a study about deception, there's not a lot about the study itself and feels like a slightly strenuous catalyst for the events that follow.

A decent, easy, weekend read, nothing challenging but by no means an edge of your seat page turner. A book to take on holiday then leave behind at the hotel once you're down with it.

**Thanks to Netgalley and the publishers for an advanced copy of this novel. All opinions are my own.

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When a brutal murder occurs in the science department and the only suspects are a bunch of graduate students with tragic, sealed pasts, full of secrets and knowledge about the art of deception, how can you find out who the real perpetrator is?

This book is an exciting and intelligent whodunit, more than just a dark academia novel. Its fast and dynamic pacing, claustrophobic and eerie atmosphere, and brilliant mind games will keep you guessing the identity of the murderer, keeping you on the edge of your seat until the last chapter. Especially the last third was outstandingly hyperventilating and heart-throbbing. I guessed the culprit’s identity when I got closer to the end, but I really enjoyed how the mystery unfolded and how the pieces of the puzzle were perfectly positioned without leaving a loophole behind.

Six graduate students study the psychology of lying, assisting on the project conducted by Joe Lyons. Scarlett is divorced and raising her six-year-old daughter Iris. She seems like the peacemaker of the group. Robert is the most senior assistant of the project, work-oriented, disciplined, and named as the teacher’s pet because of his adoration and devotion to Joe. Britt is tattooed, has dark jet-black hair, is impulsive, secluded, and tight-lipped. Chris is a popular bad boy, straightforward, careless, and the best friend of Britt, rejecting to talk about their pasts. Elizabeth is beautiful, cunning, calculating, the secret lover of Joe, and becomes the target of the other students because of her affair.

Joe hires a new team member called Veronica, a lawyer, to conduct their research on a legal basis. She gives creepy vibes with her unfriendly attitude around the group members and has had a dispute with one of them in the past.

One night, one of the students is brutally killed and the rest of them are at the scene of the murder. Any of them could have committed the crime and hide with lies because that’s what they’ve been trained for.

Who is the perpetrator? What’s their plan? Who’s the most effective liar among them? Detective Larson will team up with King to find out the buried secrets and watch those liars as if they’re test subjects to solve the mystery.

Overall, I’m rounding up 4.5 stars to 5. I wish there were more details about psychology studies to inform us about the lying techniques. However, this book is focused on the murders and the mysteries behind them, which still piqued my interest and hooked me up until the end.

Many thanks to NetGalley and Sourcebooks Landmark for sharing this riveting thriller’s digital reviewer copy with me in exchange for my honest thoughts.

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I really enjoyed this book! This book is a thriller set in a college campus setting in a psychology department! This particular group of graduate students were working in projects surrounding deception - which lent an air of are they lying? To every statement made by the students.
This novel was full of twists and turns that kept me in the edge of my seat.
About halfway through I had a suspicion of who the murderer was, but I second and third guessed myself until the reveal!
I thought this book was well written and I have bookmarked all of this authors book to read!

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A dark academia murder mystery that explores the psychology of deception, and will keep readers guessing at every turn.

I was immediately sucked in as the story opens with a fascinating psych interview, and I couldn’t tear my eyes away from the pages! I was anticipating the following chapters to be as captivating, but was slightly underwhelmed by the rest of the writing, though I was still compelled enough to go on.

Chapters alternate between 7+ characters POV, although it’s all still written in 3rd person, which isn’t my favorite. While I was compelled by the mystery here, I never found myself feeling connecting with or deeply caring about any of the characters.

Definitely felt the If We Were Villains vibes. This is sure to keep readers suspicious of everyone and guessing till the end!

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Murder strikes a group of grad students, and they all have something to hide….

At a prestigious North Carolina university a team of graduate students are working on a research project in psychology under Joe Lyons, a professor prominent in the field and known for taking risks in his endeavors. There is Scarlett, a single mom; Robert, Joe’s de facto assistant; Elizabeth, beautiful and who may or not be involved in an affair with the recently divorced Joe; Britt, rough edged, pierced and tattooed; Chris, a former star athlete from a privileged background; and brand new to the group, Veronica, whose background is in the field of law. Joe, it seems, is concerned that the current study, which delves into dishonesty and involves deceiving the participants, may need refinement. On Veronica’s first day with the group, the student participant Tom reacts negatively to the situation and becomes increasingly agitated, particularly towards Elizabeth. When verbal upset starts becoming physical, Chris knocks Tom out. Local and campus police are called and things settle down, but Veronica expresses clear concerns with how the study is being run, and Joe decides to put the project on hold. This angers several of the grad students, whose academic goals are closely tied to the project being completed by the year’s end. It’s a rough day, all in all….but when one of the grad students is discovered dead the next day in Joe’s office, clearly the victim of a violent murder, it is only the beginning of their troubles. And that won’t be the only murder to rock the campus. Detective Alana Larson joins forces with Campus Police Officer Patrick King to find the killer before he….or she…kills again. Evidence indicates that it must be one of the grad students, but which one? And why?

As is true of many mysteries set in academia, the reader soon discovers that there is more to the highly intelligent suspects than what they project. This group of students in particular have been well trained in the art of deception, which makes it quite difficult for the investigators to know who is telling the truth, who is withholding information from them, and who is flat out lying. The secrets that each are trying to hide are eventually uncovered, but the police and the reader have quite an assortment of suspects to sift through. As an avid mystery reader of several decades (and consequently a highly suspicious one), I did get an inkling midway through the book as to who the killer was, and while my suspicions proved correct on that score, I had the motive all wrong. R. J. Jacobs has written an entertaining whodunnit with an interesting premise. Readers of Carol Goodman, Peter Swanson and J. T. Ellison would likely find this an appealing read, as would fans of Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None and other conundrums set within a fixed group of people. Thanks to NetGalley and Sourcebooks Landmark for sharing the advanced reader’s copy with me.

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I liked This is How We End Things by R.J. Jacobs. It's a foreboding new dark academia thriller of deception and suspense. The book follows the unraveling of a close group of students as they contend with what it means to lie and be lied to.

One thing that got in the way of enjoying this book more is the numerous typos. I know this is a draft/advance copy, but there were so many typos, wrong word choices, and mixing up characters' names that it was distracting. This is How We End Things definitely needs an extensive edit. For example, the two main characters were already in the car speeding down the highway, then the next sentence tells the reader the characters are climbing in the car. These types of typos are jarring and took me out of the story and action because I had to go back and re-read sections to make sure I understood what was happening.

The twist at the end is great and what saved the book. The characters were developed well, and the dialogue and scenes were good.

#NetGalley @sbkslandmark

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Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the ARC.
As this one started off I was kind of bored. But it quickly pulled me in. Great book. Took me a while to figure out what was going on but I did have my guesses as to who was the guilty person at the end and I was right. However the reason I did not figure out. This one will keep you wondering till almost the end.
Starts of so so but totally worth sticking it out.

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I felt the promotional material was a bit misleading. The novel is billed as a psychological thriller. It is that, but also a murder/mystery which is not my favorite genre. Having said that, I found the book to be a compelling read with layer upon layer of secrets and intrigue.

The setting is a prestigious university in North Carolina, the campus virtually deserted due to a scheduled break. Five graduate students, under the leadership of a radical (even reckless) psychology professor, have been conducting experiments with students to determine what motivates individuals to lie. When two people are brutally murdered within twenty-four hours, the chief of Campus Security and a detective on the local police force must solve the cases under the duress of a major winter storm. Of course, all the remaining members of the group are considered persons of interest/suspects.

Clearly labelled chapters revealed the perspectives of these characters – each so unique I had little difficulty keeping the characters straight through the transitions. There are plenty of twists and turns in the storyline as it becomes apparent that the group not only studies deception, but some are masters of deceit as well. This is a fast paced novel with an abundance of suspense that kept me engaged until I came to the satisfying ending.

My thanks to the author, the publisher, and NetGalley for the privilege of reviewing this book. The opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

This review is being posted immediately to my GoodReads account and will be posted on Amazon upon publication.

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This story takes place in a college setting and there are quite a few characters, Professor Lyons, all of the 5 research students, and Detective Larson. Throughout the book there are perspectives from all of them which helps add to the suspense and mystery. Every time I thought I had this figured out, another secret came to light and I found that I was wrong. I liked the different perspectives, some were longer than others but all of them added to the story.

At the beginning, reading the prologue, I was a little confused. It starts with a psychological interview, which I wasn’t quite following. As I read further into the book it started to make sense why he started the book in that manner. One negative that I found in this book was the very LONG chapters. I’m a fan of short chapters so the long chapters in this book made it a little harder to keep my focus at times. The breaks in perspective helped break up the chapters which was nice.

The last couple chapters in the book had lots of suspense and I was racing to finish to find out what would happen. My favorite line of the book also happens to be the title, “This is how we end things.”

Overall, I really enjoyed the mystery and suspense. Thanks so much to NetGalley for the ARC!

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Something about this just didn't hit for me. The storyline was good and I enjoyed the characters. I think it was the writing style that was just meh for me.

Thank you to netgalley and the publisher for allowing me to read this arc in exchange for an honest review!

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Gorgeously written with an engrossing mystery and a captivating cast of characters. If you're looking for a dark and twisted macadamia themed thriller this is it. Ticked all the boxes. Highly recommend Thank You to Source books and NetGalley for my Arc

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Professor Joe Lyons, along with five graduate students, are exploring the psychology of liars. During their studies a body is discovered and only those well-versed in how to weasel their way out of interrogation, and exploit their studies for their own personal gains, are the potential suspects.

This cover and synopsis suggested the contents were to feature a darkly academic thriller but this wasn't quite what was delivered. Whilst the actual bones of the story were endlessly interesting and the murder mystery an intriguing one to solve, I anticipated the focus to remain more on the studies of the students and the psychology skills that were being taught there. I thought we would learn more about just what these were and how they were utilised, rather than on past secrets all were hiding. The focus directly on the studies only occurred in the initial section. Whilst all that followed was expertly laid out and well-placed, it just wasn't what I had come into this novel to explore, hence my lower rating than anticipated.

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After hearing so much about this book I was just dying to get my hands on a copy and I’m so happy I was given the chance to review it!
I really enjoyed this book! It was one of those hard to put down I need to know how this ends books. The writing style took me a bit to get used to but once I did I was flying through it.
There was some really cringy moments and I loved that!
The ending choice was.. interesting. But that’s the whole point of a book right?

Highly captivating read.

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I think the premise of this book was great and I was really interested in the mystery and figuring out how this all came to be. However, I couldn’t get past the writing. While the author did a great job at description and setting a scene the dialogue was cheesy at best and ludicrous at worst. The characters felt like they came straight out of a 50s mystery show leading the audience to the exact questions they wanted to ask but in a not-so-subtle, wink and nudge sort of way. The way the author wrapped up the book came completely out of left field in a way that seemed like it was to be a “gotcha” than a well-thought out mystery with clues along the way. It felt like the twists were added just for twists’ sake. The last pages of the book are characters’ telling us exactly how the crime happened. It was just a badly executed thriller that felt like it needed more time being developed.

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This author reminds me a lot of Alex North - cerebral, spooky, twisty. The writing was compelling, but certain elements were too predictable. The convenient snowstorm was a bit too deux ex machina for my liking (docked a star for that) and the characters flat. Certain storylines didn't seem to resolve. However, if you like a murder mystery with a psychological twist, you'll likely enjoy this one! Worth a read, even if it wasn't my favorite.

This ARC was provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

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Absolutely incredible read! Loved every minute of this psychological mind twisting book.
The prologue made me not want to put this book down.
Thank you Netgalley, author and publisher for this absolutely fantastic read!

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