Online dating is risky—will that message be a sweet greeting or an unsolicited lewd photo? Will he be as handsome in real life as he is in his photos, or were they taken ten years and twenty pounds ago? And when he asks you to go home with him, how do you know it’s safe? The man calling himself “Mr. Right Now” in his profile knows that his perfect hair, winning smile, and charming banter put women at ease, silencing any doubts they might have about going back to his apartment. There, he has a special evening all planned out: steaks, wine, candlelight . . . and, by the end of the night, pain and a slow, agonizing death.
Driven to desperation—by divorce, boredom, infidelity, a beloved husband’s death—a young woman named Paige, her cousin and rival Heather, her best friend, Chloe, and her mother, Joan, all decide to try their hand at online dating. They each download an app, hoping to right-swipe their way to love and happiness.
But one of them unwittingly makes a date with the killer, starting the clock on a race to save her life.
New York Times bestselling author Joy Fielding has written a complex, electrifying thriller about friendship, jealousy, and passion—a deadly combination.
|Publisher:||Random House Publishing Group|
|Product dimensions:||6.20(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.40(d)|
About the Author
Read an Excerpt
“So, tell me about yourself,” he says. He smiles what he hopes is a sweet smile—neither too big nor too small, one that hints at a wry, maybe even offbeat sense of humor that he thinks would appeal to her. He wants to charm her. He wants her to like him.
The young woman sitting across from him at the immaculately set table for two hesitates. When she speaks, her voice is soft, tremulous. “What do you want to know?”
She is beautiful: late twenties, porcelain skin, deep blue eyes, long brown hair, just the right amount of visible cleavage. Exactly as advertised, which isn’t always the case. Usually the photos they post are a few years old, the women themselves older still. “Well, for starters, why a dating app? I mean, you’re gorgeous. I can’t imagine you’d have any trouble meeting guys, especially in a city like Boston.”
She hesitates again. She’s shy, thoughtful as opposed to self-absorbed. Something else he likes. “I just thought it would be fun,” she admits. “All my friends are on them. And I’ve kind of been out of the dating scene for a while . . .”
“You had a boyfriend?”
She nods. “We broke up about four months ago.”
“You broke up with him?”
“Actually, no. He broke up with me.”
He laughs. “I find that hard to believe.”
“He said he wasn’t ready to be tied down,” she offers without prompting. Her eyes fill with tears. Several escape without warning, clinging to her bottom lashes.
Instinctively he reaches across the table to wipe them away, careful not to disturb her mascara. “You miss him,” he says.
“No,” she says quickly. “Not really. It’s just hard sometimes. It’s more being part of a couple I miss, our friends . . .”
“Were you together long?”
“A little over a year. What about you?”
He smiles. She’s trying, he thinks. Even though he can see her heart isn’t really in it. Still, some women never even think to ask. “Me? No. It’s been a while since I’ve been in a serious relationship. But we were talking about you.”
She looks toward her plate. She hasn’t touched her food, and he spent hours preparing it, letting the expensive steaks marinate all afternoon, wrapping the large Idaho potatoes in tinfoil for baking, arranging the watermelon and feta cheese salad just so on the delicate floral china, wanting to impress her. Maybe she’s a vegetarian, he thinks, although there was nothing on her profile to indicate that.
He should have asked when he suggested dinner. “Tell me about your childhood,” he says now.
She looks surprised. “My childhood?”
“I’m assuming you had one.” Again, the sweet smile hinting at greater depths.
“It was pretty ordinary. Nothing much to tell.”
“I’m guessing upper middle class,” he offers, hoping to stimulate the conversation. “Comfortable lifestyle, maybe a nanny or a housekeeper, parents who loved you, made sure you had everything your little heart desired.”
“Not really. Well, maybe at first,” she agrees tentatively. “Until I was about six and my parents got divorced. Then everything changed.”
“We had to move. My mom had to go back to work. My dad remarried a woman we didn’t like. We were always being shuffled back and forth.”
“My brothers and I.”
“I like that you say ‘I,’ ” he interrupts. “Most people would say ‘me.’ They have no respect for grammar. Or maybe they just don’t know the difference between the subject and the object of a sentence. I don’t know.” He shrugs, sensing her mounting discomfort. Not everyone is as concerned with grammar as he is. “How many brothers do you have?” he asks, aiming for safer ground.
“Two. One’s in New York. The other one’s in L.A.”
“And your mom? Where is she?”
“Here. In Boston.”
“Does she know where you are tonight? Well, how could she?” he asks, answering one question with another. “Don’t think she’d approve of your agreeing to have dinner in a stranger’s apartment, would she? Are you always this adventurous?” He cocks his head to one side, a gesture some have called charming, and waits for her response.
Another hesitation. “No.”
“Should I be flattered? ’Cause I’m feeling kind of flattered here, I gotta admit.”
She blushes, although whether the sudden redness in her cheeks is from embarrassment or anticipation, he isn’t sure.
“Is it because I’m so good-looking?” He says this playfully, accompanied by yet another smile, his sweetest one so far, and although she doesn’t respond, he knows he’s right. He is that good-looking. (“Pretty boy,” his father used to sneer.) Much better-looking than the picture he posted on the dating site, which in truth isn’t a picture of him at all, just some shirtless model with handsomely generic features and washboard abs whose photograph he saw in a Men’s Health magazine.
Good-looking enough to make a woman silence the nagging voice in her head warning her to beware, to follow him out of the crowded bar where they’d agreed to meet and go with him to his apartment near Sargent’s Wharf, where he’s promised a gourmet feast.
“You’re not eating,” he says. “Is the steak too rare for you?”
“No. I just can’t . . .”
“Please. You have to at least try it.” He cuts a piece of meat from his own plate and extends his fork across the table toward her mouth. “Please,” he says again, as blood drips from the steak to stain the white tablecloth.
She opens her mouth to receive the almost raw piece of meat.
“Chew carefully,” he advises. “Wouldn’t want you to choke.”
“Please . . .” she says, as the cellphone in his pocket rings.
“Hold on. I’ll just be a minute.” He removes the phone from his pocket and swipes its thin face from left to right, then lifts it to his ear. “Well, hello there,” he says, lowering his voice seductively, his lips grazing the phone’s smooth surface. Finally, he thinks.
“Hi,” the woman on the other end of the line responds. “Is this . . . Mr. Right Now?” She giggles and he laughs. Mr. Right Now is the name he goes by on the multiple dating sites to which he subscribes.
“It is. Is this . . . Wildflower?”
“It is,” she says, more than a trace self-consciously, not as comfortable with pseudonyms as he is.
“Well, Wildflower,” he says. “I’m so glad you called.” He’s been anticipating this moment for what feels like forever.
“Are you still in Florida?” she asks. “Is this a bad time?”
“No. It’s perfect. I just got back into town about an hour ago.”
“How’s your mother?”
“Much better. Thanks for asking. How are you?”
“Me? I’m fine.” She hesitates. “I was thinking maybe you were right, that it’s time we give this another try.”
“No maybes about it,” he says, eager to nail her down. “At least on my end. How about Wednesday?”
“Wednesday is good.”
“Great. Are you familiar with Anthony’s Bar, over on Boylston? I know it’s usually crowded and it can be pretty noisy, but—”
“Anthony’s is great,” she says, as he knew she would. Crowded, noisy bars are always a woman’s preferred place to meet.
He smiles at the woman sitting across the table, notes the tears now wriggling freely down her cheeks. He checks his watch, making no move to wipe the tears away. Anthony’s Bar is where he met her less than two hours ago. He is being rude and insensitive.
“Say six o’clock?” he says into the phone.
“Six is good.”
“No more last-minute cancellations?”
“I’ll be there at six on the button.”
“No!” his dinner companion shouts unexpectedly. “Don’t . . .”
He is instantly on his feet, his hand sweeping across the table to slap her hard across the face. It connects with such ferocity that the chair to which she is securely tied, her hands handcuffed behind her back, teeters on its hind legs and threatens to fall, causing the noose looped around her neck to tighten. He watches as she gasps frantically for air. Another minute of flailing uselessly about and she will likely lose consciousness.
He’s not ready for that. He isn’t done with her yet.
“What was that?” the woman calling herself Wildflower asks.
“What was what?” he asks easily in return, walking around the table to steady the chair, then covering the frantic woman’s mouth with his free hand. “Oh. Probably just the TV. Some guy getting the shit kicked out of him. Excuse the language.”
A second’s silence. He can almost feel Wildflower smile.
“Are you going to tell me your real name?” she ventures.
“I’ll tell you mine if you tell me yours,” he replies flirtatiously. A lie. He never tells any of the women his real name. “Although I gotta say, I kind of like Wildflower.”
“Then suppose we leave things the way they are for now.”
“Till Wednesday, then,” he says.
“Looking forward to it.”
He returns the phone to his pocket and removes his hand from the woman’s mouth. “If you scream, I’ll stick this steak knife in your eye,” he says calmly, brandishing its serrated edge in front of her face. The noose around her neck is now buried inside her flesh. He doubts she has enough air to scream, even if she were so inclined. Still, he’d underestimated her before.
She’d been so easy. Almost too easy. Mesmerized by his beautiful exterior, she’d gone along with his every suggestion, agreeing to leave the dark, crowded bar to enjoy a home-cooked dinner in his apartment, then eagerly sitting down at the small, round table with its white linen tablecloth already in place, not comprehending the danger she was in until her hands were handcuffed behind her and the rope was literally around her throat.
She’d tried so hard, been so compliant, going along with his silly game of pretending they were on a real date, answering his stupid questions, even offering up a few of her own, undoubtedly hoping to save her life. And even when she recognized this for the pipe dream it was, when the phone call convinced her that she was simply one of many, that there was nothing special about her, and that he was already moving forward, who’d have thought she’d have the gumption to try warning his next victim? He admires that.
Not that it matters.
He resumes his seat at the table and calmly finishes his meal, careful to chew each piece of meat thirty times, as his father used to insist. He hopes she won’t do anything stupid, something that will make it necessary to finish her off quickly. He wants to take his time with her, show her he’s more than just a pretty face.
He smiles, hoping to convey that she has his full attention. She deserves that. But even as he lifts the last piece of steak toward his lips, his imagination is already leaping ahead.
And the woman who will be his crowning achievement: Wildflower.
Three weeks earlier
At just after seven a.m. Paige Hamilton woke up to find her mother sitting on the side of her bed in her pajamas, her normally youthful features betrayed by a series of worried lines that made her look every one of her seventy years.
“How was your date last night?”
“You woke me up to ask about my date?”
“How was it?
“Not good.” Paige pushed herself up on her elbows, recalling last night’s unfortunate rendezvous as she shook her shoulder-length brown hair from her eyes. The man had been at least twenty pounds heavier and five inches shorter than his profile on Match Sticks indicated. What was the matter with these guys? Did they think that women didn’t have eyes, that they wouldn’t notice the discrepancy?
“That’s too bad,” her mother said. “You thought he sounded promising.”
“Mom . . . what’s going on?”
“I don’t want to worry you.”
“Too late for that.”
“Don’t apologize. Tell me what’s wrong.”
Her mother’s sigh shook the double bed. “I think I might be having a stroke.”
Paige was instantly on her feet, dancing abstract circles on the hardwood floor. “What are you talking about? What makes you think you’re having a stroke?” She searched her mother’s face for signs of anything off balance. A drooping eyelid, a twitching lip. “You’re not slurring your words. Are you dizzy? Are you in pain?”
“I’m not in pain. I’m not dizzy,” her mother repeated. “You have such a lovely figure,” she said, as if this were a perfectly normal thing to say under the circumstances.
Paige grabbed her pink silk robe from the foot of the bed and wrapped it around her naked body, trying to make sense of what was happening.
“I didn’t realize you slept in the nude,” her mother continued. “I always wanted to do that, but your father preferred pajamas, so I followed his lead.”
“Mom! Focus! Why do you think you’re having a stroke?”
“It’s my vision,” her mother said. “It’s kind of weird.”
“What do you mean, it’s kind of weird? How weird?”
“I’m seeing all these flashing lights and squiggly lines, and I remember reading that a change in vision is often the first sign you’re having a stroke. Or maybe a detached retina. What do you think?”
“I think I’m calling nine-one-one.”
“Really, darling? Do you think that’s necessary?”
“Yes, Mom. I really, really do.” Paige grabbed her cellphone from the night table and pressed the emergency digits. “Try to stay calm,” she advised her mother, although she was the one on the verge of hysteria. She’d lost her father to cancer two years ago. She wasn’t ready to lose her mother, too. At thirty-three, she was much too young to be an orphan. “What are you doing?” she asked as her mother pushed herself off the bed.
“I should probably get dressed.”
“Sit back down,” Paige said, listening to the phone’s persistent ring against her ear. “Don’t move.” She threw her free arm into the air in frustration. “What’s the matter with these people? Why aren’t they answering the phone? I thought this was supposed to be an emerg—”
“Nine-one-one,” a woman’s voice said, interrupting Paige’s tirade. “What is your emergency?”
“My mother’s having a stroke.”
“Well, it could be a detached retina,” her mother qualified.
“We need an ambulance right away.” Paige quickly gave the dispatcher the address of her mother’s posh Back Bay condominium. “They’ll be here in five minutes,” she said, crossing to the en suite bathroom and throwing some cold water on her face, then applying deodorant before grabbing the first thing she saw in her closet and pulling it over her head.
“That’s a pretty dress,” her mother said. “Is it new?”
Paige glanced at the shapeless floral sundress that Noah had always despised. She quickly reminded herself that Noah’s likes and dislikes were no longer her concern. “No. I’ve had it a while.” She retrieved a pair of lace panties from the top drawer of her dresser and stepped into them, pulling them up over her slim hips.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
A really tense read with lots of family drama and some serial killer action for good measure! Four Bostonian women end up get involved with a dating app and we watch helplessly as the situation rapidly spirals out of control. Who will the next victim be? Paige has lost her job and her cousin had an affair with her partner so she has now moved home to be with her mother and close to her best friend Chloe. Each of the characters has her own agenda and we get to know them as the book goes on. When Paige meets a really interesting and attractive guy, is it really too good to be true? We all know the risks of dating apps, but it is an easily relatable story - who doesn't want true love? And you will be in suspense right until the end.
Great story that drew me in from the very beginning until the very last page!
I started reading All the Wrong Places on 5/17/2019 and finished it on 5/22/2019. This book is an excellent read. I love the first chapter, definitely a strong start to hook in readers’ attention. The chapters following after that was slow building, but still an interesting enough to read that I didn’t want to put it down. I was hoping the killer to be among the men the four main women characters were involved with but I was disappointed to find out that he’s his own mystery person. I do like that the author include his point of view in the story. I like the concept of online dating and the killer can be an everyday good looking person that could easily fool anyone into thinking he could be the good guy instead of the bad ones. This book is told in the third person point of view following Mr. Right Now as he is having dinner and torturing a lady he met on a dating app. He informs readers that he’s very handsome, more handsome than the fake profile picture he uses and that women trusts him enough to leave the crowded bar they initially met and go to his apartment for a home cooked meal. The story then goes back to 3 weeks earlier, following Paige Hamilton, 33 as she experienced yet another failed date with a man she met on a dating app. Paige is currently living with her 70 year-old mother after her father passed away 2 years ago. She’s unemployed and her lived-in boyfriend Noah of 3 years left her for her cousin. Another view is Chloe, Paige’s best friend. Chloe married a handsome womanizer Matt. She joined the dating app to verify that her husband is on there per an anonymous phone call informing her of her husband’s online presence. The fourth view is Joan, Paige’s mom. Joan decided to join the dating apps as suggested by Paige to find a companion since her husband’s death. The fifth view is of Heather, Paige’s cousin. Heather is unhappy even though she’s having all of Paige’s things: apartment, boyfriend, and career. She joined the dating app to look for excitement. All the Wrong Places is well written. I enjoyed the different stories of the four women including the killer’s. I like Paige’s mom, being 70 and out dating again. I like the luck Paige was having even though she personally probably hate all the inconveniences thrown her way. Heather’s drama is a bit funny. She thinks she’s doing a revenge on Chloe but she didn’t realize she’s being used and easily discarded. I like Chloe only when she caught the new contact in Matt’s phone toward the end. The idea of online dating apps always interest me and I’m glad to have read this book. Although there weren’t much twists in who the killer is, I do enjoy the reminder that the killer could be someone other than loners and uglies. I do recommend everyone to read this book. Pro: fast paced, page turner, dating apps, love & betrayal, family & friends, online dating apps Con: not much twists I rate it 4.5 stars! ***Disclaimer: Many thanks to Ballantine Books for the opportunity to read and review. Please be assured that my opinions are honest. xoxo, Jasmine at www.howusefulitis.wordpress.com for more details
I have read every book that Joy Fielding has written so when I got this one I was so very excited. She is a great thriller writer, but this one was a tiny bit of a disappointment. It had all the makings of a great thriller. It had the killer, victims, reasons, friends, family, everything you would expect from one of Ms Fielding’s books. The problem I had was that it didn’t focus that much on the killer. I mean it had him of course and it told some vague things about what he did. He was very evil but it gave no reason for why he did what he did. The ending felt unfinished. The last girl, who was a key player in this book, was never mentioned. She was never found??? The killer disappeared without a trace? What was up with that unless maybe there is going to be a sequel which I highly doubt because I have never read one of her books that didn’t end and the bad guy always got caught. While I did enjoy this book it just didn’t seem like the other books that this author has written. I felt kind of cheated. I liked the characters. They were well developed and you will feel like you know them. You will love to hate about three of them and love the rest. I loved the things that came out of the mouths of Chloe’s children. They were so funny. I was glad she decided to have a life and be happy and that her and Paige were so close. I can’t say much without giving things away though. Paige’s mom was a very nice lady and I was happy she found love at 70. Gives us hope that some things don’t die when we get older. Ha ha But seriously..... I have to thank NetGalley and Random House Publishing-Ballantine for the ARC of this book. I only gave this a 4 star rating because of some things noted above. I did enjoy it and I do recommend it to my friends who love to read. It was an enjoyable book. Just a bit off for other books I have read by this author. I will continue to read her books though and wait for another one.
I have read Joy Fielding for over 30 years. Her books are like old friends. I have read them all and she has had hits and misses, but they are all comforting, fast, easy reads. Like Lifetime movies. This one falls in between a hit and a miss in that it is definitely fast-paced with something happening in each chapter. I enjoyed all of the characters, even annoying Heather, and their points of views, I pretty much had the ending figured out but it was still a fun ride, I just wasn't crazy about the FINAL ending. I don't want to give any spoilers, but I would have liked one part to be a different resolution. All in all though, I can definitely recommend this one! Thank you, NetGalley and the publisher for the ARC!!
Not up to par for Fielding ... 2.5 stars from this reader. I’ve been a Fielding fan for many years, that’s why I rounded it up to 3 stars. This was not one of my favorites. Usually she can keep you on the edge of your seat as far as thrillers go but this didn’t do that for me. I’m not sure I would even classify it as a thriller, or as a psychological thriller either. I didn’t find anything electrifying about it. It is more about the relationships between four women and why they turn to online dating sites. For pretty much the same reason most people do... boredom, needing something new, unfaithful mates, etc., There is a lateral story going on about a predator picking his prey from women on these sites but it is pretty sketchy. Not enough development about the guy except that he’s handsome, manipulative and likes to torture women after feeding them steak and then killing them. At one point towards the end something happens to one of the ladies, a mother of two young children and there weren’t any details about how or why it occurred, only that she was fortunate to escape with her life, and not at the hands of the predator either. As a reader, I wanted details. What bothered me even more was how this novel ended. It just stops, and we are left to imagine what happens next. It wasn’t the type of novel you can’t wait to get back to and I was glad to move on to something else. ARC provided by Ballantine via Net Galley for my unbiased review
Four women look for love in All the Wrong Places and one ends up trapped by a serial killer. Paige is having a bad few months. First, she loses her high-profile advertising job. Then she catches her cousin Heather, who has always copied her life choices, in bed with her boyfriend. To save money, Paige moves in with her seventy-year-old widowed mother, Joan. Paige’s best friend, Chloe, gets an anonymous tip and discovers her husband has recently set up profiles on several online dating sites. All four woman decide to join Match Sticks to find new men. One is shown trapped by a serial killer in his apartment as the book opens. But which one? All the Wrong Places balances a serial killer thriller plot with an excellent chick lit tale. It even has a bit of comic relief with hapless Heather. The mixture somehow works well making this a 4 star read! Thanks to Ballantine Books and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for an honest review.
All the Wrong Places is a fascinating mix of thriller, family drama and the story of a serial killer. It is an interesting look at online dating and some of the possible dangers. It was a bit confusing at times with all the different characters but as the story unwinds everything got sorted out. There are many surprises, twists and turns that kept me in suspense until the shocking, abrupt conclusion, making this an enjoyable read. I received this book from NetGalley in return for an honest review.
This book delved into multiple characters and their stories but they were all somehow related. I really liked the story and thought the ending was good. It really surprised me.
How much do you really know about that new friend or follower you connected with on social media or online dating site? Could a psychopath be searching for that “right” person to victimize as they are looking at the seemingly benign photos and posts that you upload concerning yourself and your family? These are some of the questions you might ask yourself after reading this book. Joy Fielding has written an enthralling psychological thriller about the intertwined relationship between four women. Paige, her mother Joan, best friend Chloe and her cousin Heather (with whom Paige has a strained relationship), all have their own personal agendas for exploring online dating. The suspense as the story unfolds will keep you on your toes. Joy Fielding is a master of thriller and suspense novels.The character narrative of the serial killer in the story is absolutely chilling. I don't think I will easily forget this one.
This book was absolutely one of the best thrillers that I have read in a long time! The author knew just when to increase the suspense and then how to keep the reader waiting and wanting more. When the story begins, Paige is suffering from a broken heart, caused by none other than her conniving cousin Heather. Joan, Paige’s mother, is feeling old and at loose ends, after being a widow for a few years. Chloe, Paige’s best friend, is suffering a crisis of her own when she finds out that her husband Matt may have been unfaithful. At first, it seemed like a lot of characters to keep up with, but actually, they all had some strong personalities that the book took on a life of its own, like a really engrossing movie. The final character worth mentioning in a review is Mr. Right Now, Paige’s contact on a dating site who may or may not be what she is hoping for. The story is so fast-paced that it’s like a whirlwind of drama or a high-speed locomotive. I enjoyed the relationships between the characters and I particularly liked that the protagonist, Paige, was easy to like. I found myself almost holding my breath when Paige’s life was in imminent danger, again and again. Of course, the reader is not meant to like Heather because she is extremely obnoxious, so I didn’t like her at all, although I did kind of pity her for her shallow life. This book has it all: love gained and lost, love for a lifetime, a parent’s neglect, unemployment, and a serial killer. Put it all together and it all adds up to one fantastic book! Disclaimer Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255, “Guides Concerning the Use of Testimonials and Endorsements in Advertising.”