“Like the best filmmakers, Li draws you to the edge of your seat and keeps you there.” —The New York Times Book Review
After a long-buried, harrowing incident, a woman whose promising film career was derailed contemplates revenge in this thriller about power, privilege, and justice “that is compelling, courageous, and brutal in the best possible way” (Liz Nugent, author of Little Cruelties).
A Hollywood has-been, Sarah Lai’s dreams of success behind the camera have turned to ashes. Now a lecturer at an obscure college, this former producer wants nothing more than to forget those youthful ambitions and push aside any feelings of regret…or guilt.
But when a journalist reaches out to her to discuss her own experience working with the celebrated film producer Hugo North, Sarah can no longer keep silent. This is her last chance to tell her side of the story and maybe even exact belated vengeance.
As Sarah recounts the industry’s dark and sordid secrets, however, she begins to realize that she has a few sins of her own to confess. Now she must confront her choices and ask herself, just who was complicit?
Bold and hypnotic, Complicit transports us “into the film industry’s dark and deep-seated culture of rampant sexism and unbridled male ego…and the terrible cost of staying silent. An utterly compelling read” (Liv Constantine, author of The Last Mrs. Parrish).
About the Author
Winnie M Li is an American author and activist living in the UK with her partner and young son. A Harvard graduate, Winnie worked as a film producer in London before her career was disrupted by a violent rape. Inspired by that experience, her first novel Dark Chapter was nominated for an Edgar Award and translated into ten languages. She is the founder of Clear Lines, the UK’s first-ever festival addressing sexual assault through the arts and discussion.
"As soon as I read the first few pages of COMPLICIT I knew it was going to be a compulsive read - Winnie M Li’s powerful and beautiful writing immediately immersed me and kept me furiously turning the pages. Through her assured storytelling Winnie draws you into the protagonist’s world on every level - from the superficial to the emotional - to paint a devastating and timely portrait of the abuse of power within a highly charged and often frightening workplace. I loved it." — Sarah Pearse, New York Times bestselling author of THE SANATORIUM
"In this page turning story of one woman’s struggle, Li thrusts the reader into the film industry’s dark and deep-seated culture of rampant sexism and unbridled male ego…and the terrible cost of staying silent. An utterly compelling read." — Liv Constantine, internationally bestselling author of THE LAST MRS. PARRISH
“Winnie’s skill as a writer is to forge out of a familiar film story one that is beautifully unique. It haunted me when I was away from it. An emotionally complex story, it ripples with foreboding and tension. Utterly compulsive reading.” — Sarah Winman, author of STILL LIFE
"A masterful example of the slow burn thriller, highlighting the still all-too-true fact that often the real terror for women is simply existing in a man's world. Also an ode to the power and beauty of story-telling. I loved it." — Araminta Hall, author of IMPERFECT WOMEN
"A deep dive into the sleazy underbelly of the film industry prior to #MeToo, COMPLICIT is a brave look at the innocents, the predators, their enablers and those who turned a blind eye to sexual harassment, abuse and rape. Winnie M Li weaves a story that is compelling, courageous and brutal in the best possible way." — Liz Nugent, #1 internationally bestselling author of LITTLE CRUELTIES
"Like John Grisham did with the legal profession in THE FIRM, Winnie M Li's COMPLICIT provides an insider's look at the film industry that is full of suspense." — Peter Swanson, New York Times bestselling author of NINE LIVES
"A sharply written and absorbing dive into a dark and glamorous world. As timely as it is entertaining, this spectacular novel hooked me from the first page. Winnie M Li is a remarkable talent." — Cristina Alger, New York Times bestselling author of GIRLS LIKE US
“A shattering and morally complex portrait of power, ambition, guilt, and the toxic culture that enables entitled men to do as they please, Winnie M Li’s COMPLICIT invites us into the blinding glare of the Hollywood spotlights—and the shadows that lie beyond. I couldn’t look away.” — Robin Wasserman, PEN/Faulkner finalist and critically acclaimed author of MOTHER DAUGHTER WIDOW WIFE
"A propulsive page-turner, Winnie M Li’s COMPLICIT is a glittering story of ambition, regret, corruption and ultimately hope. Sarah Lai is an unforgettable protagonist." — Vanessa Hua, author of FORBIDDEN CITY
"Totally compulsive. Truly gripping and unexpected … an incredible and timely story." — Kirsty Capes, author of CARELESS
"A fearless and brilliant novel about power, ambition and abuse in the film industry and what it means to be a survivor." — Anna Mazzola, Edgar Award-winning author of THE STORY KEEPER
"Powerful and compulsive, an era-defining novel that’s impossible to put down." — John Marrs, internationally bestselling author of WHAT LIES BETWEEN US
"Bold, brilliant, dazzling and devastating. Winnie M Li writes with pure heart and effortless style, and in COMPLICIT handles the sharpest of stories with such compassion and skill." — Chris Whitaker, New York Times bestselling author of WE BEGIN AT THE END
"A skilful, engrossing and timely thriller -- as well as a deeply unsettling glimpse into the dark heart of Hollywood." — T.M. Logan, #1 internationally bestselling author of TRUST ME
“Harrowing, powerful, and impossible to forget, COMPLICIT is a novel very much immersed in today's issues and complexities, while also managing to be strikingly intimate and charged with emotion. Winnie M Li explores the dark corners of entrenched power dynamics to shed a light on society as a whole, and she does it masterfully and with precision. A magnificent book.” — Alex Segura, acclaimed author of SECRET IDENTITY, STAR WARS POE DAMERON: FREE FALL, and MIAMI MIDNIGHT
"Some stories are so important, they can only be told by the right person. Winnie M Li is one such master storyteller, and COMPLICIT is the masterpiece. What a book." — Leye Adenle, award-winning author of the Amaka series: EASY MOTION TOURIST and WHEN TROUBLE SLEEPS
“A compulsively readable meditation on power: who wields it, who wants it, and who suffers at the hands of it. The talent, work ethic, and ambitions of an immigrant daughter are no match for an amoral, billionaire film mogul. Or are they? Timely and intelligent, COMPLICIT exposes Tinseltown’s dark side and will resonate with any woman who has ever tried to make it to the top.” — Jini Reddy, author of WANDERLAND, shortlisted for The Wainwright Prize and Stanford Dolman Award Travel Book of the Year
"COMPLICIT is a must read for anyone who’s sat in a movie theater, watched an entertainment show, or followed their favorite celebrity on social media. It’s a harrowing explanation of how powerful men are able to get away with so much for so long – as seen through the eyes of an unforgettable heroine whose dreams to make movies becomes a nightmare. You’ll never look at the film industry the same again." — Kellye Garrett, Agatha, Anthony, and Lefty Award-winning author of LIKE A SISTER
"With slick, addictive writing and characters that feel so real and relatable, COMPLICIT is both engrossing and completely enraging! I couldn't put it down!" — Allie Reynolds, author of SHIVER
"A gripping, nuanced and believable novel about some of the stories behind the #MeToo movement . . . Absolute gold." — Libby Page, internationally bestselling author of MORNINGS WITH ROSEMARY
"Winnie M Li gives us an insider view of the intoxicating and corrupt world of the movie industry that often places women in a no-win situation. Her lead character, Sarah Lai, faces both sexism and racism in following her ambition to become a producer. How much of her integrity is she willing to sacrifice? Moving through New York City, the Cannes Film Festival and Hollywood, COMPLICIT is a page turner for our times." — Naomi Hirahara, Edgar Award-winning author of CLARK AND DIVISION
"Beguiling and terrifying, COMPLICIT is an illuminating novel about the struggle to survive as a woman in modern Hollywood and at what cost. A thought-provoking, addictive read - I couldn’t put it down!" — Stephanie Scott, author of WHAT'S LEFT OF ME IS YOURS
"COMPLICIT is simply brilliant. Beautiful writing, a compelling story, an intriguing structure—I was captivated from the first paragraph to the last. Li pulls back the veil on the glamorous film industry to show its less-than-savory side, yes, but it's the empathetic lead Sarah Lei who makes the novel truly special. Her journey from eager film student to capable producer to wise and remorseful screenwriting teacher blowing the whistle on a former colleague will touch the hearts of anyone who's made choices that they later regret. Like the fallout from the #MeToo movement, this story will resonate for years to come." — J.T. Ellison, New York Times bestselling author of HER DARK LIES
"Ingeniously constructed, traversing searing aspects of race, class, gender, COMPLICIT gallops to a surprise finish, toggling back and forth from present to past and back again without losing any of its propulsive momentum. A page-turning read that also makes you think." — Marie Myung-Ok Lee, author of THE EVENING HERO
"COMPLICIT by Winnie M Li is one of the best novels about the dark side of Hollywood that I have read. Winnie understands the inner workings of the movie business, but more importantly, she understands the moral complexity and emotional tolls of working in a business that doesn't just tolerate, but actively rewards bad behavior. It's about how your dreams are used against you, and how power seduces, and how quickly moral grayness fades to black." — Jordan Harper, Edgar Award-winning author of SHE RIDES SHOTGUN