Back from my travels, and I’ll start catching up on my reviews again…. but I want to tell you first about the quite wonderful book that I read yesterday. Every so often a book comes along that hooks you from the very first page. This one was an extremely accomplished first novel that I read in one enjoyable sitting, mesmerised by the turns and twists in the story and absolute fascination with the character of Leila. “Unputdownable” is an overused expression – but this book really is!
Leila is the narrator, telling the story after it happened. She is a solitary individual, having worked from home in IT testing while looking after her dying mother. Left alone, she begins to live her life on line, first through Warcraft and then by discovering the Red Pill website where she engages in philosophical debate and becomes a trusted member. When approached by the site’s founder – the charismatic Adrian – she agrees to assume the on-line presence of Tess, a manic depressive who wants to commit suicide without hurting her family or friends. We watch with fascination as she learns every detail about Tess’ life leading up to the day Tess disappears and the game really starts.
This is a fascinating and absorbing story that made me feel really uncomfortable on a number of occasions – there’s a real feeling of “this could really happen” about the whole story, with the way in which we all live our lives on line these days. And it’s perfectly written – Leila has an unworldly naivety and innocence which makes her endearing, with her awkward attempts at social interaction and the precision with which she takes on her task.
I must mention the wonderful Facebook trailer produced to accompany the book – you need to be logged on to Facebook to access it, and it uses your personal details to produce a very unsettling experience. Nothing will be posted on your Facebook profile, and your details won’t be shared.
I’m dying to see what Lottie Moggach comes up with next!