The Vicious Circle: A Novel (Hardcover)
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For fans of Lucy Foley and Liane Moriarty, a twisty, escapist suspense about a mysterious retreat center harboring violent secrets.
“Masterfully plotted and superbly twisty, The Vicious Circle is a read-in-one-sitting thriller.... This novel will send you spiraling into a deadly vortex of greed, lust and lies.” —Rose Carlyle, author of #1 international bestseller The Girl in the Mirror
A perfect paradise? Or a perfect nightmare?
On a river deep in the Mexican jungle stands the colossal villa Xanadu, a wellness center that’s home to an ardent spiritual group devoted to self-help guru Paul Bentzen and his enigmatic wife Kali. But when Paul mysteriously dies, his entire estate—including Xanadu—is left not to Kali, but to his estranged niece Sveta.
Shocked and confused, Sveta travels from New York City to Mexico to pay her respects. At first, Xanadu seems like a secluded paradise with its tumbling gardens, beautiful people, and transcendent vibe. But soon the mystical façade wears thin, revealing a group of brainwashed members drunk on promises of an impossible utopia, guided by a disturbing belief system and a charismatic, dangerously capable leader.
As the sinister forces surrounding Sveta become apparent, she realizes, too late, she can’t escape. Frantic and terrified, she discovers her only chance of survival is to put her confidence in the very person she trusts the least.
About the Author
Katherine St. John is a native of Mississippi, graduate of the University of Southern California, and author of The Lion’s Den and The Siren. When she’s not writing, she can be found hiking or on the beach with a good book. Katherine lives in Atlanta, Georgia, with her husband and two children.
“Gripping…the cult-y new travel thriller you need to read.” — Cosmopolitan
“[A]ny of St. John’s novels are deeply suspenseful, and deliciously dark and deceitful. The Vicious Circle is another quick and satisfying read with a twisted plot.” — USA Today
“St. John is a pro at crafting escapist thrillers. Her often gorgeous protagonists find themselves in remote settings, surrounded by people they’re not sure they can trust. It all makes for loads of nail-biting suspense, and St. John’s latest, The Vicious Circle, conjures that same life-or-death urgency amid opulence.” — BookPage
“Think Nine Perfect Strangers…or The White Lotus on HBO. St. John explores that juicy terrain with a thriller about a young woman who mysteriously inherits a wellness center in a Mexican jungle.... A fun, escapist romp.” — Atlanta Journal-Constitution
"[A] fun romantic adventure-thriller… St. John effectively ratchets up the suspense and the surprises. Lushly exotic locales and touches of humor add to tasty escapism that should please fans of Nine Perfect Strangers." — Publishers Weekly
“The Vicious Circle mixes greed, danger, and warped family dynamics in a claustrophobic and unnerving thriller that will keep you guessing and on edge until the very end.” — Darby Kane, #1 international bestselling author of The Replacement Wife
“Masterfully plotted and superbly twisty, The Vicious Circle is a read-in-one-sitting thriller. Katherine St. John enthralls the reader with this high-stakes battle between a charismatic cult leader and a young woman whose quest for the truth might prove to be her undoing. This novel will send you spiraling into a deadly vortex of greed, lust and lies.” — Rose Carlyle, #1 international bestselling author of The Girl in the Mirror
“The Vicious Circle is a chilling immersion into a disturbing cult disguised as a wellness center tucked away in a secluded jungle.... A haunting, gripping novel.” — Kaira Rouda, USA Today bestselling author
"Deliciously dark, sultry, and twisty. In The Vicious Circle, nothing is what it seems." — Elle Cosimano, USA Today bestselling author of Finlay Donovan Is Killing It
“St. John sweeps us away to another exotic locale in The Vicious Circle, this time to a remote part of the Mexican jungle. Sveta inherits her uncle’s entire estate including Xanadu, a cult-like wellness center run by a charismatic but dangerous leader. As the jungle closes in, the story takes several sinister turns, and St. John is a clever master of surprise. Luscious and addictive, The Vicious Circle is a fast-paced and incredibly seductive read.” — Kimberly Belle, international bestselling author of My Darling Husband
“In Katherine St. John's The Vicious Circle, a former model inherits a magnificent wellness commune, but the thin facade of paradise is soon punctured to reveal a community built on the darkest and most twisted impulses of human nature--a sinister cult with brainwashed members and a dangerous leader. St. John's latest is a terrifying and gripping read.” — Mary Dixie Carter, author of The Photographer
“I loved this twisty suspense SO much!! Utterly intoxicating, deliciously propulsive, and wholly original, I devoured The Vicious Circle in just a few feverish sessions. St. John’s prose positively shimmers off the page and the lush, tropical setting will both seduce you and leave you highly unsettled as lies, manipulation, and betrayal all bubble to the surface in a searing, razor-sharp commentary about the dark side of paradise and wellness culture.” — May Cobb, author of My Summer Darlings
"If there’s one word to describe The Siren, it’s this: salacious . . . A reading experience that’s as layered and decadent as a slice of tiramisu . . . The sense of foreboding grows alongside the threat of a hurricane hitting the film’s shooting location in the Caribbean. If you put The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, Gone Girl and Big Little Lies into a blender, you might get The Siren—pulpy and scandalous enough to compete with a glossy-paged gossip rag, but with brisk, lucid writing.” — Emily Henry, New York Times Book Review
"St. John has delivered the goods . . . Shocking revelations, intrigue, murder, and a hurricane are all in the mix. It’s hell and high water. And a high old time." — Wall Street Journal on The Siren
"[A] superb tale of revenge and unbridled ego . . . The scene is set for action, intrigue, murder, and heart-stopping adventure. St. John keeps readers deliciously off-balance with each new revelation about the characters and their motives, as revealed through the alternating viewpoints of Stella, Felicity, and Taylor. This is pure, riveting entertainment." — Publishers Weekly (starred review) on The Siren
“Katherine St. John's thrilling debut, The Lion’s Den, gripped me from the first page. A breathtaking romp through the glamorous and decadent world of billionaires on the Riviera, this riveting tale of friendship and betrayal is sure to be the breakout hit of the summer. It is irresistibly wicked . . . I couldn’t put it down!” — Kathryn Stockett, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Help
"St. John's sizzling debut sparkles with yacht and fashion porn, and smart, decent Belle is easy to root for as the panic reaches its peak. Blingy, swingy fun plus a well-crafted, socially conscious suspense plot: Anchors aweigh!" — Kirkus Reviews on The Lion’s Den
"Sex! Intrigue! Jealousy! Betrayal! Secrets! Batten down the book clubs, Katherine St. John is on deck! This dazzling novel is chock full of delicious characters, who flaunt their sins and peccadilloes, like the latest Birkin bag. Come aboard for a fabulous read, pure escape, beautifully written. Loved it!" — Adriana Trigiani, New York Times bestselling author of The Good Left Undone
“The Siren may start as a gossipy peek behind the scenes of a high-stakes movie shoot, but it quickly spins into an unflinching portrait of the politics of truth and deception in Hollywood.” — Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan, bestselling authors of The Royal We
"St. John wraps a fun yarn around a sinister mystery." — The New York Times, on The Lion’s Den
"Welcome to the bougiest of bougie settings . . . [a] juicy thriller." — Cosmopolitan, on The Lion’s Den
"[A] delicious read . . . brilliant." — Marie Claire, on The Lion’s Den
"Engrossing." — Entertainment Weekly, on The Lion’s Den