THE TEMP - by Michelle Frances

THE TEMP - Michelle Frances
Published: November 2018 - Pan Macmillan.
Genres: Adult / thriller / contemporary
Pages: 464.
Triggers/Content Advisory: Mild violence / mild bad language / sexual innuendos.
Format: Paperback.
Source: Thank you so much to Pan Macmillan SA for sending me this book in exchange for an honest review.
Wanted: Assistant to provide maternity cover for high-powered TV producer. Must be bright, creative, with killer instincts. 

Emma would do anything to work for the woman who has the job she wants. Carrie is at the top of her game, with a dream career, a baby on the way, and a handsome screenwriter husband. For Emma, with parents who don't understand her ambition and a serious misstep behind her, this temp position might be her last chance.
Carrie has given up more than anyone knows to get to the top of a ruthless business. She won't give up this baby too. But with Emma filling in for her at the office, her perfect life starts to unravel. Her bank account is inexplicably overdrawn, her husband seems strangely distant and colleagues are all too happy to take Emma's creative direction. Carrie finds herself dying to get back to work . . . until a letter left at her door changes everything.

I was expecting to love this book. I hardly even considered the fact that I might be disappointed.

The writing is bad, there's absolutely no point sugar-coating it. It's extremely cheesy, childish, cluttered with overused cliche phrases, and the dialogue is terrible. There is so so so much exposition, as well. It'll induce eye-rolls.

The story and plot are shoddy. There's no originality whatsoever, and everything feels so terribly contrived. The story unfolds around a film production company and with all the pop culture references and celeb name dropping, the author's lack of research is glaringly and painfully obvious. It feels like a cheap, surface-level glimpse at a British television company and business. It never once feels authentic. I couldn't suspend disbelief for a moment.
The plot doesn't do the setting any favours. It's predictable and contrived, and certainly not thrilling or entertaining. The pacing is up and down, too.

A little part of her soul changed its molecular make-up forever, became as hard as a stone and settled in the pit of her stomach.

The characters are annoying stereotypes that I cared zilch for. They are all so boring and uninspired, and there's no depth to their personalities at all. I honestly can't even say what they're each like because their personalities are so poorly formed. Maybe if the point of view had been first person, that might have deepened and fleshed out each person more. But third person does them no favours.
As an additional note, I also feel uncomfortable about how Adrian's character was treated. He's painted as the stereotypical male scumball, but Emma's treatment of him towards the end of the book was awful and inappropriate (she had him handcuffed to the fireplace for days); all because - SPOILER - he stole her film script years ago. Yes, he did wrong, but so did she. She shouldn't have gotten away with it. That made me angry. It also feels like the author was out to get the guy in the story and paint the women as the wounded heroes. Even when Emma and Adrian sleep together, Emma leads the reader to think he forced/pressured her into it, when he clearly, clearly didn't.  It all feels very biased.

The Temp is contrived, superficial, and packed with cliches. To make things worse, the writing is lacking and the characters are pathetic.