#ATBR2020 – They Never Learn by Layne Fargo

Thanks to Gallery Books and to the author for the free early copies in exchange for our honest reviews

THEY NEVER LEARN – Layne Fargo (Released October 13th, 2020)

You can see our thoughts on Fargo’s debut TEMPER (here)

Book Description:

From the author of the “raw, ingenious, and utterly fearless” (Wendy Walker, USA TODAY bestselling author) Temper comes a dynamic psychological thriller about two women who give bad men exactly what they deserve.

Scarlett Clark is an exceptional English professor. But she’s even better at getting away with murder.

Every year, she searches for the worst man at Gorman University and plots his well-deserved demise. Thanks to her meticulous planning, she’s avoided drawing attention to herself—but as she’s preparing for her biggest kill yet, the school starts probing into the growing body count on campus. Determined to keep her enemies close, Scarlett insinuates herself into the investigation and charms the woman in charge, Dr. Mina Pierce. Everything’s going according to her master plan…until she loses control with her latest victim, putting her secret life at risk of exposure.

Meanwhile, Gorman student Carly Schiller is just trying to survive her freshman year. Finally free of her emotionally abusive father, all Carly wants is to focus on her studies and fade into the background. Her new roommate has other ideas. Allison Hadley is cool and confident—everything Carly wishes she could be—and the two girls quickly form an intense friendship. So when Allison is sexually assaulted at a party, Carly becomes obsessed with making the attacker pay…and turning her fantasies about revenge into a reality.

Featuring Layne Fargo’s trademark “propulsive writing style” (Kirkus Reviews) and “sinister, of the moment” (Chicago Review of Books) suspense, They Never Learn is a feminist serial killer story perfect for fans of Killing Eve and Chelsea Cain.

Chandra’s Thoughts: 5/5 stars

Ok…… if y’all have been following me for any length of time you’ll know that I’m a binge reader.  I am a one sit, fast reader who enjoys her stories like a shot of whiskey… but this comes with perils and every once in a while I like to sloooooooooooow it down and really savor a read.  I am SO happy I chose to do this with THEY NEVER LEARN.  Listen, I read her debut, TEMPER, last year and while I found it predictable, I was IN IT TO WIN IT the entire read and it was a 5 star, hands down, review for me.  With this standard set, I was curious where I would stand with her next…. and well… I stand with my jaw dropped and as Cardi B puts it, a WAP.  👼

Fargo creates these sex scenes that get you fanning your damn face for ….. well, as long as you need to.  Not only does she bring us Scarlett, a crazy ass character that I couldn’t help but fall in love with.. but her secondary and even tertiary characters, good AND evil, are LIFE… and DEATH… gimme life and death! 
“Killing a man is so much more satisfying than fucking a man could ever be.” A-(wo)MEN!
Look, at page 304, I was still going “Um, WHAAAAAAAAAAAT”.  I don’t even care you guys.  I want more of ALL OF THEM (that made it through still alive).  Fargo, please tell me there’s more… or kindly e-mail me a continuation… I promise to keep it a secret. 😉
My teeny tiny blip would be that I would’ve loved to know more about Scarlett’s past… we only got through the outer layer… I’d love to dig further…. 

My Thoughts: 5/5 stars

When I picked up TEMPER by Layne Fargo last year, I was immediately sucked in. I couldn’t stop turning those pages and I absolutely loved it. When an author has such a great debut you always hope they don’t fall victim to a sophomore slump, but Fargo blew me away with another addictive thriller. THEY NEVER LEARN is a fast-paced psychological thriller with binge-worthy, short chapters, and some badass female leads.

We all know the saying, hell hath no fury, and this is something I will always love having in my thrillers. Strong women hellbent on revenge, no matter how long and how meticulously planned it will need to be. Scarlett and Carly are two women in different points in their lives – Carly is just beginning her freshman year in college and Scarlett is an English professor. They have one thing in common, that they want the evil men around them to truly pay for the horrible things they have done to women.

Scarlett finds one man every year that she deems to be the worst, based on his crimes, and begins to plan out his death at her hands. Abusers and rapists never get the punishment they deserve, and Scarlett is out to fix that. After her most recent victim is discovered and questions begin to arise around the apparent suicide, a task force at the university is formed with Dr. Mina Pierce in charge. Scarlett will need to get in close with Mina in order to make sure her secrets aren’t revealed.

After Carly’s roommate, Allison, is assaulted at a party it becomes Carly’s obsession to get revenge on the boy that attacked her. Seeing how this event completely changes both Allison and Carly was so frustrating and heartbreaking at the same time. You know that Carly’s heart is in the right place with how she is fiercely trying to protect her roommate from further harm.

It’s not just Scarlett and Carly that are our badass women, we also get Mina Pierce and one of their students, Mikayla. On the other hand, we also get some men you’ll despise and almost hope that they’ll become Scarlett’s next target. I loved the alternating chapters between Scarlett and Carly and seeing their stories unfold. The twists in this one, and that ending! I couldn’t put it down and I need more from Layne Fargo NOW

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