... blows the airbrushed façade off feminist capitalism in a particularly stark way. As secrets come to light and betrayals start to pile up (along with the bodies), Bartz’s novel questions if powerful women like Eleanor can rise to the top without stomping on quite a few stilettoed toes along the way. At times, the pace gets a bit bogged down with minutiae, contributing to questions of means, motive and opportunity. But even if the mystery plot gets a tad draggy, the interpersonal dynamics among friends, sisters and lovers remain explosive and endlessly fascinating.
The plot of The Herd is as twisty as one those artful blowouts from the Drybar ... As is standard in a story like this, the women who constitute Eleanor’s closed circle of gal pals take turns stepping into the role of prime suspect ... Each member of the trio takes turns narrating and editing events to flatter herself. But, because Katie, Hana and Eleanor are more 'concepts' than characters whose voices all sound alike, such a potentially complex narrative structure barely registers. As the story progresses, more suspects, revelations and bodies dutifully pile up ... It’s disappointing that Bartz takes a glossy concept—mayhem in a female-only workspace!—and makes so little of it. If Lilly Pulitzer manufactured suspense novels, they would read like The Herd: colorful, but devoid of imaginative depth.
Bartz packs in plenty of twists, with a deliberate pace that picks up speed at the end ... Surprises and suspense married with themes on the nature of womanhood and sisterhood make this ideal for fans of Paula Hawkins’s The Girl on the Train or Gillian Flynn’s Sharp Objects.