Cover Image: This is How We End Things

This is How We End Things

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The Breakfast Club meets The Secret History in mystery author RJ Jacobs’ new dark academia thriller. This is How We End Things, like Donna Tartt’s The Secret History, takes place on an American college campus. In this case, it’s the fictional Hampden College in Shepard, North Carolina. Apart from being a campus novel, it also has the characteristics of a classic closed circle mystery.

Full review: https://westwordsreviews.wordpress.com/2023/10/25/this-is-how-we-end-things-rj-jacobs/

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I really enjoyed this one. R. J. Jacobs' books are hit or miss for me. This was a hit. I was fully interested in the goings on of this research group and why who was killed was killed! I liked the red herrings, they felt natural. Really good book.

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This was the first book I have read by R.J. Jacobs. This a good locked room mystery. This book held my attention from beginning to end. You will feel like you are on a rollercoaster at times with all the twists and turns. I found this to be an enjoyable read and I would definitely recommend this book.


Thank you NetGalley and SOURCEBOOKS Landmark for allowing me to read this ARC for my honest opinion.

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"Campus is empty, a winter storm is blowing in, and someone is lurking in the shadows, waiting for their chance to kill again."

This book is a slow burn. We follow a group of graduate students who are studying the act of lying as they discover that one of their own has been murdered. Each is more determined than ever to hide their own secrets. The premise is fantastic, with an urgency to collect the evidence, peel back the layers of secrets that each student holds, all before the encroaching winter storm hits and buries the truth. And to do this with a group of people who study lying, how do you know who's telling the truth?
For me, this book didn't fully deliver. I thought that some of the students secrets weren't very interesting, the twists weren't very twisty, and in the end I didn't care too much about the characters. With that said, I did keep reading because I wanted to know who the murderer was - I just couldn't figure it out.
It's important to note that I read a lot of thrillers. I think that this makes it harder for me to find one that really stands out. This is a solid story, it just didn't knock my socks off.

Thank you to @netgalley @highbridgeaudio and @scourcebooks for the gifted copy of this book.

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A slow burn thriller with lots of twists that will keep you guessing. This was definitely unpredictable and many developments surprised me. This would make an excellent Netflix and parts did read almost script-like. Anyone who enjoys psychological thrillers will love this.. Thank you for the opportunity to read!

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A psychology program is in crisis when one of the graduate students assisting with a study is found murdered in the department. After slow-build, pieces finally start to fall into place, dots connect, and the reader is left with a shocking twist at the end I did not expect. I would recommend this book, especially if you enjoy dark academia!

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A solid thriller that surprised me with each twists and kept reading. I wasn't a fan of the characters but the excellent storytelling kept me hoooked and guessing.
Recommended.
Many thanks to the publisher for this ARC, all opinions are mine

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I’d seen mixed reviews for this one, but I’m glad I ignored them because I really enjoyed it and couldn’t put it down. If you enjoy stories filled with secrets and lies, dark academia and unexpected twists, I highly recommend this psychological thriller. There were one or two loose ends I would have liked to see wrapped up, but they didn’t detract from the story. I alternated between the audiobook and physical book and enjoyed both formats. 4.5⭐️

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Sadly, this one just wasn’t for me but unfortunately I can’t quite put my finger on what exactly didn’t work. The plot had great potential, especially because my own background is in psychology. The execution fell totally flat in my opinion and the writing left something to be desired. I never felt like I connected to the story or any of the characters and finishing felt like a bit of a chore.

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What causes people to be untruthful?

Professor Joe Lyons has his graduate students performing experiments on fellow scholars, & the tests aren’t exactly following the standards set by modern-day psychology; Joe’s reasoning is that it’s to further the science, to see how stress influences lying. But it turns out that his little research project has unintentionally created some very skilled liars out of his grad students, & then a body is found on campus…

I loved seeing how different each of the experimenters were: Britt, Chris, Scarlett, Robert, & Elizabeth made for some fascinating characters, & I liked discovering the various reasons that drew each of them to the same area of study. Veronica being a late addition to the group definitely made things interesting, too. Detective Larson piecing together how the different players in this story are connected & what they are hiding had me turning pages, & the redacted psych evaluation transcripts were perfectly placed throughout the story. The snowstorm hitting campus just as the investigation was turning a corner added even more suspense - a deliciously twisty new addition to the dark academia genre.

Thank you to NetGalley & Sourcebooks for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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(Actual: 3.5⭐, rounded up) As a dark academia lover, this was a solid read for me (even if several of the characters comprising the ensemble cast were quite unlikable). I thought the mystery was well-thought out and enjoyed playing the ~whodunnit~ guessing game with myself in my head, though the reveal itself fell a little flat (which, imo, was because it felt just a tad too rushed). Despite that though, this had me flipping pages up and into the night, so I still consider it a definite win!

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A thriller set on a college campus focused around a psychological study? Yes, please! A group of graduate students and a well-known professor are running a psychological experiment. All those involved in running the experiment have been trained to lie - so when one of them is murdered, the suspects are numerous. This thriller was fast-paced, had the right amount of complicated characters to keep you wondering who was a suspect for quite a while. I did guess the the culprit, but not until about 10 minutes before the reveal. I docked one star because I feel that a setting and plot like this could have really stood out from the pack with characters that were more well-formed and intertwined. The characters were a bit one dimensional and their relationships were pretty tenuous. Looking forward to reading more by R.J. Jacobs!

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This Is How We End Things is a twisty suspenseful thriller that is perfect for fans of dark academia! The cast of characters are interesting and complicated. The way the author slowly revealed their secrets was really interesting and had me going through a whole list of suspects before the end. There are some breadcrumbs but the mystery was not easy to figure out. If you’re a fan of thrillers and dark academia then This is How We End Things would be an excellent addition to your TBR!

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An amazing thriller. Just when I thought I knew what was going to happen, there was another twist in the story. The characters were likable, and in relatable situations. The plot was easy to follow. Great read, would definitely recommend to thriller lovers.

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Thank you to the publisher for my copy - all opinions are my own.

I LOVE RJ Jacobs and his writing and this was just another example of the kind of perfectly crafted, psychological thriller that keeps you utterly glued to the page. I LOVE a good dark academia thriller, and when you throw in a murder, a group of suspects who are all hiding secrets of their own, a professor whose personal life has muddled with his professional life and an encroaching winter storm...... literally the perfect combo for spooky season reading.

RJ just writes really good, interesting, morally complex characters. I genuinely love that I am never exactly sure who I should or shouldn't trust in his books, and I have yet to be able to perfectly guess where a plot twist will land. The pacing in this book was spot on, and the winter storm was the perfect atmospheric layer to make the book all the more ominous.

Overall, this is truly perfect autumn reading. Get a sweater, a good beverage and cozy up to spend the night getting immersed in the drama of a graduate study program gone very, very wrong.

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“Campus is empty, a winter storm is blowing in, and someone is lurking in the shadows, waiting for their chance to kill again.

Forest, North Carolina. Under the instruction of enigmatic Professor Joe Lyons, five graduate students are studying the tedious science behind the acts of lying. But discovering the secrets of deception isn't making any of the student's more honest though. Instead, it's making it easier for them to guard their own secrets – and they all have something to hide.

When a test goes awry and one of them is found dead, the students find themselves trapped by a snowstorm on an abandoned campus with a local detective on the case. As harbored secrets begin to break the surface, the graduates must find out who's lying, who isn't, and who may have been capable of committing murder. It turns out deception is even more dangerous than they thought... “

This book was a wild ride. I freaking love when there’s unreliable narrators and this book had a plethora of them. These graduate students are literally studying lying and how others deceive people for their own gain. It was interesting to see how the characters used it when talking to the cops and added to my suspicions of every character. I also enjoyed that this was set on a college campus, which gave some dark academia vibes. I will say towards the end, I guessed who the murderer was, but it took me a while to get there. Overall, this was a great twisty thriller

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4.5 stars rounded up to 5.

Loved this book! It had all the elements I like in a thriller, snowy setting, lots of could be suspects, and an academic setting. I thought the author did a fantastic job of making me question darn near everyone and I didn’t figure out who the baddie was until about 80% so I’m pretty happy about that. I couldn’t put it down, a highly readable dark academia thriller that I’d definitely recommend!

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For fans of Dark Academia, comes a locked-room style mystery complete with a cast of characters trained to deceive. While the book starts out slower, it quickly picks up pace and takes on moments of police-procedural vibes. I was able to guess the murderer from very early on, but despite some of the predictability, I enjoyed the premise and the snowy, university campus setting for a thriller like this. Given the psychological aspect of the story, I did want a little more from the characters themselves but overall, it was still a quick, suspenseful read.

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⭐/5

• dark academia
• locked room (snowstorm)

Many unreliable narrators here, but this one was just really slow for me. Very close to DNF'ing.

🗣️ Thank you to netgalley and sourcebooksfiction for the opportunity to read and review this book via gifted eARC! All opinions are honest and my own.

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Thank you NetGalley for allowing me to receive this book for an honest review.

This book is about five students who are working on a special project with their professor Joe Lyons. They are studying the psychology of lying. After a disagreement about one of the experiments a fight breaks out and the experiments have been halted.
Then the next day a body is found and a snowstorm has trapped everyone. Will the police arrive before another body turns up?
While the snow rages outside, the students are trapped, and the detectives race against time before the next body is discovered.
It was interesting reading each person perspective.
I enjoyed this book.

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