The Manager – A. K. Wilson

Money, power, secrets…love?

Katy grew up seeing how the first three could shatter everything–including the fourth. She wants no part of the games and the chase, but that seems to have left her with an empty life.

After being suddenly thrown back into the job market, her new boss, Riley, seems to be a channel to all of these things. And Katy is increasingly finding herself overwhelmed by attraction. Can she let this all in? Should she? And what price might doing so extract from her?

Katy is our narrator, and it’s immediately a fascinating experience. She’s smart, and also a smart-ass. She’s observant, insightful about herself as well as others. But she’s also lost, hiding from herself and everyone else in a stoic mask. When the rug sweeps out from under her, she simply steps off it and onto the next one with a barely broken stride; except inside, where she’s trying to figure out who did that, why, why then, and what this new rug is.

As you can probably tell, I liked her right away.

Riley enters the story as some sort of icy goddess, immediately churning Katy’s brain. But it’s quickly obvious that Riley is much more than that, and getting to know her better as we go is quite a treat. All too often the balance on this type of character is wrong, they’re usually too tightly wound, too clammed up. But Wilson finds a sweet spot here and it works very well.

Watching things unfold from behind Katy’s eyes is entertaining, not just for her observations, but also for the way we learn through her perspective, and how we see her change–usually before she does.

I’m going to slightly bend my usual no-spoiler rule here, so skip this bit if you don’t want anything.

There’s a major character who is trans. Yaaaaay. Even better – the bad guy from her pre-trans days doesn’t misgender her. Double yaaaay.

I enjoyed this. It’s nice to read a queer story that both centres queer characters, and doesn’t make their queerness central to everything.

Pick this up if you want cute lesbian smoochies, lots of twists and turns, and an enjoyably paced story.
The Manager was released on May 17th 2022. You can pick it up from Amazon UK or US, or your other favourite bookseller or library.


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