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November 26, 2022

The Personal Assistant by Kimberly Belle ~ a Review

by Susan Roberts

A deeply addictive thriller exploring the dark side of the digital world when a mommy-blogger’s assistant goes missing.  

Amazon affiliate links are used on this site. A free book was provided for an honest review.

book cover of psychological thriller The Personal Assistant by Kimberly Belle
November 2022; Park Row; 978-0778333258
audio, ebook, print (352 pages); psychological thriller

The Personal Assistant
is one of the best thrillers that I've read in a long time.  It's full of twists and turns and the last chapters reveal surprises that I didn't see coming.  The main characters are all flawed and my decision on who to trust changed throughout the book.  Clear your calendar before you start this book because you won't want to put it down until the end.

Alex and Patrick are married and are raising Alex's twin 12-year-old daughters from her first marriage.  They are deeply in love and Patrick is the perfect husband and father in her eyes.  Alex becomes a major influencer on Instagram with a million people following her on @UnapologeticallyAlex.  She's so busy that she's hired a personal assistant.  AC not only handles her social media but is also her 'work wife and right-hand gal' (p12).

The novel begins when Alex wakes up after a night of drinking with Patrick and AC to celebrate her new achievement of one million followers.  What waits for her, along with a wicked hangover, is a post that has gone viral that is seen by people as mean and vindictive and a missing AC.  As the trolls take over demeaning her and her number of followers begins to drop rapidly, she begins to wonder if there is a connection between the Instagram negativity and her missing personal assistant.  Buy why??  She felt like she treated AC like a member of the family and had no idea if or why AC had betrayed her.  AC knew all of her secrets, all of her passwords, and some of her deepest issues, and Alex knew that if AC had betrayed her, things could get very nasty, very fast.  As the issues continue to pile on and begin to affect the safety of the family, the police get involved and start asking Alex and Patrick questions about the missing AC.  I can't go into much more detail on the plot so I don't give away anything but I can tell you that this is a perfect example of social media at its worst.

The story is told in alternating chapters by Alex, Patrick, and the missing AC.  AC's chapters take place in the past and expose secrets from her younger days.  Every time that I thought I knew who to trust and who was the 'bad guy', my mind would change in the next chapter.  Was Alex the problem for making social media such an important part of her life, was Patrick hiding secrets from his past and if it was AC leading the negative posts on social media -- WHY?

This fast-paced thriller will keep you turning pages to get to the surprise ending.  Kimberly Belle is a  master of psychological suspense and you don't want to miss her newest book.

Susan Roberts grew up in Michigan but loves the laid-back life at her home in the Piedmont area of North Carolina where she is three hours from the beach to the east and the mountains in the west.  She reads almost anything but her favorite genres are Southern Fiction and Historical Fiction.  

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