Jane Doe is the third offering from author Victoria Helen Stone. It centers around one woman’s quest for revenge against the man she holds responsible for the death of her best friend, and while it didn’t completely captivate me, it’s a book I’m glad I read.
At first glance, Jane seems like a hundred other women you might encounter in any mid-sized American city. She works for an insurance company, and she seems to live a perfectly average life. Sure, her clothing choices might be on the sexy side, but it’s nothing that would set her apart from her co-workers. The idea that Jane isn’t exactly who she seems to be would come as a shock to anyone who knows her, but that’s exactly what’s going on. Jane is out for revenge, and she knows exactly what she needs to do to get even with the man who completely ruined her life.
Steven Baxter comes across as the perfect man, exactly the kind of guy any young woman would be pleased to date, but Jane knows he has a dark side – and she’s ready and waiting to expose it. She blames him for the death of her best friend, the one person who ever really understood her. True, her friend committed suicide, but Jane is sure she never would have taken her own life if Steven hadn’t driven her to it.
Jane’s plan is relatively simple. She will insinuate herself into Steven’s life, and then, when the time is right, she’ll take away everything he loves. He’ll never even see it coming, since he’ll be so convinced that Jane is a meek, biddable woman who lives only to please him. Now, she just has to set her plan in motion.
Jane is not your typical heroine. She’s a self-proclaimed sociopath who has only managed to care deeply for one person in her entire life, and it is this deep and abiding loyalty to her deceased friend that drives her. I loved how cunning and determined she is; I never doubted that she’d get what she wanted in the end. She is not, however, an easy character to get to know, and, if I have one complaint about this book, it would be that I never felt I fully knew Jane. She drops a few hints about her past, but nothing that gave me anything approaching a clear picture as to who she really was. Still, it was impossible for me not to cheer Jane on as she embarks on her quest for justice.
This is not a book that relies on big reveals or shocking twists to keep the reader’s interest, as we know right from the start where the story is headed. I just wasn’t completely sure how Jane would achieve her end goal, and oddly enough, the slightly predictable nature of the story did not take away from my overall enjoyment. I’m a big fan of thrillers that are able to surprise me, but Ms. Stone managed to keep me completely invested in the story even without throwing something completely unexpected into the mix.
The novel contains quite a few references to violence against women. Some of it is physical, but most of it is emotional, and all of it is difficult to read. The descriptions aren’t graphic, but then they don’t need to be in order to feel utterly real.
The last quarter of the book is a little disappointing. Like I said, I always knew Jane’s revenge plot would succeed, but there are a couple of things about how her success was achieved that felt a bit too neat and tidy for my liking. I didn’t find it implausible exactly, I just would have preferred it if things hadn’t seemed to fall into Jane’s lap at exactly the right time. Even so, there’s quite a bit for readers to enjoy here. Jane Doe is an easy, fast-paced read that’s perfect for a day at the beach.