book cover of The Vicious Circle
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The Vicious Circle

(2022)
A novel by

 
 
For fans of Lucy Foley and Liane Moriarty, a twisty, escapist suspense about a mysterious retreat center harboring violent secrets.

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 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. 



Genre: Mystery

Praise for this book

"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

"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

"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

"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

"Deliciously dark, sultry, and twisty. In The Vicious Circle, nothing is what it seems." - Elle Cosimano

"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

"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


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