Cover Image: This is How We End Things

This is How We End Things

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

Let me begin by saying that I love nothing more than a thriller/mystery with an academic setting - and this one completely scratched that itch in the best way. I was in a terrible slump and my reading pace had really slowed down until I picked this one up.

Though a little predictable, I loved the characters and I loved the way the author forces the reader to maintain skepticism around the relationships and the characters as individual players. Each player in this story, both major and minor, could've done it and it really has the reader guessing until the final hour. I felt like I was a member of this research group as I learned more and more about the past and the guilt of each other characters - an excellent book that I'm going to keep recommending to fellow academic thriller lovers!

Was this review helpful?

This was a solid psychological thriller with an academic setting. I appreciated the psychological research detail and the topic of deception was a clever plot point.
While the ending wrapped things up a little too nicely, I did enjoy the story and would read more from this author.

Was this review helpful?

This was a fun, fast read that had a fun twist. I really enjoyed the way psychology was incorporated into this made it both interesting and engaging. The character development was a bit lacking but really, you don't need it to get into the story. A good one when you're in the mood for a wintery fast-read.

Was this review helpful?

This is How We End Things, R. J. Jacobs

Out now!

Dark academia & thriller perfection!!

As a practicing psychologist and thriller lover, Jacobs has crafted a whip-smart locked room mystery set within the constructs of a grad student research project.

Blurring moral and ethical lines, Dr Lyons and 5 top grad students embark on a research study about deception. All of whom are masters at manipulation and trained at the art of deception.

The science of lying becomes a key component in the forensic investigations after 2 of the 6 wind up dead. Who killed whom? When? Why? It’s a race to find the “tell” before the next fatality.

Secrets and deception are at the crux of this tension filled unputtdownable thriller!

I know one thing for sure - I’ll be on the look out for more dark academia stories from R. J. Jacobs !!

Thank you to Sourcebooks Landmark and NetGalley for the digital copy to read and review.

Was this review helpful?

Ⓑⓞⓞⓚ Ⓡⓔⓥⓘⓔⓦ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐

𝕋𝕙𝕚𝕤 𝕚𝕤 ℍ𝕠𝕨 𝕎𝕖 𝔼𝕟𝕕 𝕋𝕙𝕚𝕟𝕘𝕤
𝗥.𝗝. 𝗝𝗮𝗰𝗼𝗯𝘀
336 pages

Sʜᴏᴿᴛ Sʏɴᴏᴘsɪs

A group of grad students are working on a rather intense project with a well-known professor when all hell breaks loose.

Mʸ Tᴴᴼᵁᴳᴴᵀs

In This is How We End Things, the grad students are taught to be deceptive. That is what the police officer is told before she talks to this oddball group. Their research relies on it.

Each character has their quirks, making it a rather interesting group to figure out. Some are downright unlikeable, making it hard to sort out who the real evil one is. That is what made this story pop for me.

The author takes you on a fast ride as the story plays out. Right at the juiciest part, a monster storm hits, adding to the suspense. If you live for thrillers, this one is top-notch.

Thank you to NetGalley, the author, and the publisher for providing this ebook for me to read and review.

👀Check out my book blog for more reviews!

Was this review helpful?

Ok friends -I'm officially a fan of R.J. Jacobs!

This is How We End Things is an intense psychological thriller that had me hooked from the start

It has a dark academia vibe mixed with a locked room mystery (hello snow storm on campus!). The story centers around a group of grad students studying the science of lying. One of them gets murdered, and suddenly everyone's a suspect. All of the students are trained in the art of deception so you never know who is telling the truth and who is hiding some major secrets. Deception on another level! Even so, I was very happy that my amateur sleuthing self figured it out.

If you're into tense, dark academia stories, give this one a go. It's a total winner!

Thank you to Sourcebooks Landmark and NetGalley for the complimentary copy to read and review.

Was this review helpful?

I really struggled with this book and the main reason is that I really struggled to like any of the characters or relate to them. It made it difficult to stay engaged in the book. I was excited based on the synopsis but the actual execution of the story fell flat. This is my first book by this author and I'm not sure, based on my experience with this book, if I would read their other works.

Was this review helpful?

This was hard for me to get into… I just didn’t connect with the characters. But the plot itself was intriguing. Students studying lying need to figure out who killed one of them before it’s too late. Snowstorm +murder=suspense. Thank you NetGalley for the advance digital copy

Was this review helpful?

I really enjoyed RJ Jacobs "This is How We End Things". Thank you to Net Galley for the advance copy, even if I read it after publication. As someone who worked on graduate research projects, I really appreciated the story told from a controversial research study on emotions, status, and lying. RJ Jacobs, who is a clinical psychologist, incorporates many psychological concepts into the story and features elements of research design, analysis, and IRB processes, although I am wondering how this study would have ever received IRB's blessing. Nevertheless, Jacobs' storytelling pushes the narrative forward, and I couldn't put the book down. This was an interesting mystery, leaving me making hypotheses (and null hypotheses) to determine the outcome. Really enjoyable whether you have been a part of research projects or not.

Was this review helpful?

A great read - the author did a great job of creating suspense and descriptions that made the story come alive in my mind. Although I figured out what was going on before the reveal, it was still a great read and would be a great on screen!

Was this review helpful?

All alone on a college campus, 5 students that study liars are about to be dragged into a game of cat and mouse that might just leave them all dead. Discovering the secrets of deception does nothing to help these students to become honest people, and it's about the fall down on their heads.

When a test goes wrong and someone ends up dead, the students find themselves trapped in the middle of a snowstorm on an abandoned campus with time ticking away. Who will die next? They're hoping that they can figure it out before anyone else has to lose their lives.

I found this novel absolutely intriguing. The idea that they students study lying really gave this book a fun spin, and I love an atmospheric novel in which the background is almost another character in the book. I kept thinking I knew what was going on, but then I'd be thrown for a loop. Jacobs is excellent at keeping you guessing until the very end.

Snow should be flying any time now in my neck of the woods, so if you're ready to cozy up while there's a blizzard outside, this novel is for you.

Was this review helpful?

This is not my typical genre but I really did enjoy this one and watching as the plot unraveled.

Thank you to netgalley and the publishers for providing me with an arc for an honest review.

Was this review helpful?

In a North Carolina college, five grad students are working with a psych professor on an experiment about the psychology of lying. During one of the sessions a test subject gets violent, but the group thinks it’s handled. Later, one of them is found dead at the office. Since it’s a locked academic building, it has to be someone from their own group - who has been lying to them all, and why?

I really liked this one - it combined a pretty college campus with a disturbing mystery, a local detective trying to solve it, a once-in-a-decade snow storm, and a race to close the case before anyone else ends up dead.

The beginning of this book moved a little slowly, but the great pacing in the second half saved it. I like when books with a lot of characters start out with the action to hook the reader and then take the time to introduce people and themes. It felt like there was so much explanation up front about who the students were and what the experiment was about, when the book only got interesting at the first murder. Overall I really enjoyed it once the pacing picked up!

Was this review helpful?

Mysteries, thrillers, and I do not always get along.

It seems like, at least for me, too often they give up their secrets too early or go overboard with the drama, especially after the Big Reveal. In my very humble opinion, it’s an awfully delicate balance. And harder still if you mix in dark academia as a backdrop.

Full disclosure, I haven’t read a lot of dark academia but since This Is How We End Things takes place on a college campus and is a mystery/thriller, it seems like it fits for dark academia. I could be wrong.

I can happily say now that R.J. Jacobs’ This Is How We End Things and I did get along, very much so.

Using the specter of a complex, ethically vague psychology experiment, especially one focused on lies and deceit, struck just the right tone to make a pair of murders all the more complicated and interesting. Each of the graduate students involved in running the experiment immediately become suspects and, to his credit, Jacobs makes each of their potential motivations and backgrounds entirely unique and plausible. The novel reads almost like a psychological experiment is being done on the reader, as you can’t help but try and suss out the Lie only to have your emotions and reactions twisted when That was a lie, but This is too.

It probably helps the believability of the story that Jacobs is a licensed psychologist, and they do say to ‘write what you know.’

Even as you, the reader, have your focus on the students running the story, it can be a little hard to feel too connected to them. I think is because you know they’re lying about something and you know you’re reading a murder mystery so it seems more than likely one of them is the murderer. But that lack of a connection also works because it helps with the vibe of the story that the reader is part, maybe the subject, of the experiment and you wouldn’t then get too close to the conductors. Especially after some of the morally questionable things these conductors do.

In the end, it works. Absolutely. The twist is revealed a little too early in my humble opinion, but I never guessed what it was.

If you’re in the mood for a psychological thriller/mystery with wintry dark academia vibes, This Is How We End Things is the book for you.


What’s your favorite psychological thriller with dark academia vibes?

(I received a copy of This Is How We End Things through NetGalley and SOURCEBOOKS Landmark in exchange only for an honest and original review. All thoughts are my own.)

Was this review helpful?

What a fun book to read! I am such a fan of dark academia books and this book hit all the right notes, especially when it involves psychology students!
4,5 stars

Was this review helpful?

Really like the synopsis, setting and idea of this book. Was an entertaining read but this one fell a little flat for me.
I did not feel connected to any of the characters and guessed early on the who done it.

Loved Britt & Chris friendship.

I really enjoyed Somewhere in the Dark by this author and will definitely read more of his books.

Was this review helpful?

I have a…delicate relationship with dark academia. I always think I’m going to love it, but the last few that I read just did not work out for me. Anyway, I’m happy to say that I enjoyed this one!

This is based heavily in psychology which I found super interesting, especially because that’s my major. The story follows a group of grad students working towards their PhD by conducting a study on deception. Honestly, one of my dream jobs is to just run experiments all day long, so I loved reading about this.

Oh, and then one of the grad students gets murdered. That isn’t part of my dream, but it sure made things interesting in the book.

I will say that I guessed who the villain was pretty early on, but I still liked the explanation and was pretty shocked by that aspect. I do wish that there was a much heavier focus on the villain. I feel that it would’ve made the book even more interesting. But either way, I still enjoyed it!

Thank you to Sourcebooks Landmark for my gifted copy!

Was this review helpful?

In "This Is How It Ends," RJ Jacobs crafts a compelling tale of intrigue, betrayal, and murder, showcasing the dangerous allure of deception. The atmospheric setting, coupled with the author's keen understanding of human psychology, creates a chilling atmosphere that lingers long after the final page. Prepare to be captivated and utterly engrossed in this dark and enthralling thriller. Set in the chilling backdrop of an abandoned campus in Forest, North Carolina, the novel takes readers on a thrilling journey through the twisted minds of graduate students studying the psychology of lying.

Under the enigmatic guidance of Professor Joe Lyons, the students delve deep into the intricate science of deception, only to find themselves entangled in a web of lies and secrets. As the narrative unfolds, the boundary between truth and falsehood blurs, leading to a fatal experiment and a snowstorm that traps them on the deserted campus. Jacobs skillfully explores the complexities of human nature, unraveling the hidden motives and dark desires of each character.

The tension in the story is palpable, with every page brimming with suspense and foreboding. The characters, each harboring their own secrets, are vividly portrayed, making it impossible to trust anyone completely. The narrative twists and turns, keeping readers on the edge of their seats, as the students grapple with the terrifying realization that deception can be a deadly game.

Was this review helpful?

This is how we end things

This is How We End Things is dark academia but it’s more. It’s a murder mystery, it’s a tale of secrets and compulsive behaviour, and it’s deep dive into the art of deception.

Jacobs throws us right into the action, setting on a course following a group of grad students working together on a project to study the psychology of lying. When one of the students is brutally murdered, the most likely suspects are those left standing.

And each one COULD be the killer. They all have secrets. They all could have motives. They all are not what they seem.

Twisty and smart, this one had me hooked throughout. I would have liked a bit more substance to the characters and a bit more into the psychology they were using to explain a bit more of the project but overall, this was a great thriller and worth the ride.

Was this review helpful?

When one member of the graduate team ends up dead; all suspicion is one them as the rest of the campus is deserted. They all have something to hide but some of their secrets are more deadly than others.

I love when there is multiple POVs throughout a story especially in ones written in a locked room mystery style in an academic setting. Each of the graduate students have something to hide and when you learn about the experiment they are working on you instantly become more suspicious of them. I enjoy it when you can’t tell right away who is the guilty party but are eventually able to figure it out when you piece together all the bread crumbs.

If you like dark academia books or locked room mysteries, definitely add this book to your tbr.

Thank you @bookmarked and @netgalley for this eARC in exchange for my honest feedback.

Was this review helpful?