‘The most addictive thriller you’ll read this year’, the cover promises. I can’t vouch for that, as I will doubtless be reading some more thrillers in the remaining months of 2019. However, I can confirm that it’s one of those page-turners that deprives you of sleep because you just keep reading, eager to know what happens next.
The story follows Louise, a wine-loving divorced woman in her forties, whose little world consists only of her young son Henry and a friend, Polly. When Louise gets a friend request on Facebook from someone who died many years ago, she thinks it must be a prank. But then she starts to get messages from the dead person – Maria Weston – which refer to a terrible thing Louise did back in 1989. The big question is whether the victim survived and is seeking revenge. I wouldn’t say it’s a very original plot, as it reminded me of various others that I’ve read, but the concept is irresistible and the pacing is good. The ending was disappointing for me, as it seemed to tie everything up too neatly. I also felt that the teenaged Maria should have been one of the narrators. We don’t really get to know her, which makes it harder to care about her.
I think the author has a knack for describing conversations and the complexities of human motivations. The story felt very real to me. Everything is plausible, which makes it scarier. The opposite of escapism. Motherhood is a major theme of the novel, as is the bullying that goes on between girls at high school. Although some of the story is set in the 80s, there’s little sense of nostalgia. There’s no room for it. I would describe Friend Request as a standard example of a domestic psychological thriller. If you are new to the genre, you’ll probably enjoy it more than if you’re a seasoned reader.
First published in 2017.