Friend Request is Laura Marshall's debut novel - and I have a copy to giveaway to one lucky reader!
Here's the premise. 2016. Single mom Louise gets a Facebook friend request from Maria, a girl she went to school with back in 1989. It stops her cold - for you see, Maria is dead. Who would do such a cruel thing? But there's more. Louise was a different person when she was in school. Unsure of herself and desperate to be accepted by the 'cool' kids, she became part of a group that bullied Maria. Could Maria alive? And back for revenge? After all - her body was never found......
I truly detest bullying and found the scenes and passages describing the actual cruelty very hard to read. The full extent of that behavior is only slowly meted out as the plot progresses. Marshall does a good job with younger Louise's reasoning and self justification. It's not pretty, but it is believable. Those events from 1989 have coloured Louise's life ever since. She is a different person today, with much to lose.
Marshall uses a then and now narrative in Friend Request. This was very effective, as I had to keep reading just to 'see' what happened in the past and what was going to happen in the present. There are some italized passages along the way from an unknown author. I wasn't sure how they would fit into the plot. Marshall managed to keep me guessing for most of the book. She throws in some red herrings that make a few outcomes possible, but I truly didn't see the final reveal until it arrived.
Using social media as the means to ramp up the fear factor is very current - and very real. How much of your life is visible to others? Do you really want to get in touch with that person from your past?
Now, here's my only issue. And it's down to my pragmatic nature - why not go to the police and why lie to them when she did? But, without those omissions, the book would not work!
I like the slightly titillating and sensationalistic tone of Friend Request - a Brit book. It made for a great beach read. Here's an excerpt of Friend Request. Friend Request was a good first novel and I will watch for Marshall's next book. You can connect with Laura Marshall on her website, like her on Facebook and follow her on Twitter.
If Friend Request sounds like a book you'd like to read, enter to win a copy using the Rafflecopter form below! Open to US and Canada, no PO boxes please. Ends October 7/17.