Social Misconduct – S.J. Maher

social misconducttwo stars black
Genre: Suspense, Mystery, Thriller 
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Pages: 336
Release Date: April 23, 2019

A timely and shocking thriller about a young woman who is the target of a social-media smear campaign.

“Smart, sardonic, sexy, suspenseful—and scary, because it’s probably true.” —Lee Child, #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Jack Reacher series

Her perfect job becomes the perfect nightmare when a stalker hacks her phone.

Candace Walker is thrilled when she lands a new job at a hip Manhattan tech company and gets a brand-new iPhone. She’s more than ready to move on from creating clickbait ads for weight-loss pills and herbal erection boosters, and is determined to dazzle the startup team she joins.

A week later, though, everything is at risk: Candace is the target of a mysterious harasser and an online smear campaign. She tosses her new phone into the Hudson River, begins hiding out in her sister’s storage locker in New Jersey, and can’t think of a single person she can trust. But Candace hasn’t come this far—and gone to such lengths—to submit to what is happening without a fight.

Social Misconduct begins with an incredibly slow paced opening. The reader is given an extreme amount of useless detail that bogs down the story and does not give readers incentive to continue the story. If it weren’t for the fact that I received an advanced copy, I would have DNF’ed the novel. The story finally picks up after about 80 pages and continues with an unrelenting pace until the final page of the novel.

Social Misconduct is billed as a story about the dangers of social media and how a social media smear campaign can wreck havoc on a person’s life. Instead, Social Misconduct is more about hacking and what happens when a hacker gains access to a person’s various social media accounts.

The novel is told through two timelines, the past and future. Readers follow Candace as she deals with the effects of being hacked in real time and the effects of the actions she took to deal with the hacker after-the-fact. This narrative choice may not have been the best since it does not serve the story as well as the author might have intended. The reader is presented with two vastly different characters that never really meet in the middle to justify such a drastic change in personality.

The biggest issue I had with Social Misconduct was my inability to connect or even tangentially enjoy Candace as a character. From her introduction, I found her to be annoying and unlikeable. Some of the decisions she made at the beginning of the novel made me scratching my head and lose almost all sympathy for her situation.

And, finally, Social Misconduct is overly sexual for no apparent reason. There are some sexually graphic scenes that serve no purpose than to be gratuitous. I’m not prude. I read a lot of romance novels that border on erotica with no problem. However, the scenes in Social Misconduct serve no purpose other than to be risqué for risqué sake.

Overall, Social Misconduct is a disappointing read that tries to get at the horrors of a social media smear campaign, but instead only highlights hackers and the stupidity of those who fall for them.

***I received an ARC from the publisher via Netgalley for an honest review.

Have you read Social Misconduct? What did you think?

3 thoughts on “Social Misconduct – S.J. Maher

  1. Is it me- or am I little confused about the glory of getting a new phone? She gets a new job and the biggest perk is that she gets a shiny new iphone? I hope your next read is better- great review Nadine!

    1. Without the phone, the story doesn’t “work”. It’s disappointing when the entire plot revolves around one thing.
      Thanks! I think it will be. I started Spellslinger by Sebastien de Castell and I’m really enjoying it so far!

      1. Ahh– still. I haven’t been too excited about a phone since like 2012… lol. And I LOVE Spellslinger, I hope you enjoy it too!

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