FRIEND REQUEST by Laura Marshall
Published: July 27, 2017 by Sphere
Format: Kindle e-book
When Louise Williams receives a message from someone left long in the past, her heart nearly stops.
Maria Weston wants to be friends on Facebook.
Maria Weston has been missing for over twenty-five years. She was last seen the night of a school leavers’ party, and the world believes her to be dead. Particularly Louise, who has lived her adult life with a terrible secret.
As Maria’s messages start to escalate, Louise forces herself to reconnect with the old friends she once tried so hard to impress. Trying to piece together exactly what happened that night, she soon discovers there’s much she didn’t know. The only certainty is that Maria Weston disappeared that night, never to be heard from again – until now…
I bought this book on a whim while I was stranded in a hotel in London after my Eurostar arrived three hours late and I couldn’t get a train home. I wanted something good to read to take my mind off things, and Friend Request was advertised as ‘the most addictive thriller you’ll read this year’, so I purchased it.
I love a good thriller. I’m a massive Karin Slaughter and Harlan Coben fan. But Friend Request really didn’t do it for me. It’s not necessarily badly written, and since this is Laura Marshall’s debut novel (it’s obvious), I won’t write her off completely. However, Friend Request was far from the addictive thriller it promised to be.
This book is set in both 2016 and 1989. The main character, Louise, has numerous flashbacks to her school days in 1989. The main thing that annoyed me about this book is that the characters never seemed to have grown up. Most of the story is set in 2016, when all the characters are supposed to be in their forties. However, they all seemed to be stuck in their teenage selfs.
Louise’s friends were childish, bordering on ridiculous. I don’t understand how a forty-year-old grown woman can hold things against someone that happened 25 years ago when this person was a teenager. We all do stupid, regrettable things when we’re teenagers. Are we really supposed to bear the consequences of those decisions for the rest of our lives? (If so I’m very much screwed!)
Louise herself made some very questionable decisions. Also, she spends the entire duration of the book doing pretty much nothing. She has a job, which is mentioned several times, but she doesn’t actually do any work. Somehow she gets away with it, and even gets her clients to apologise to her. I wish my job was like this.
Louise is completely unbelievable as a character. I didn’t understand her decisions or her thought process. “When did I become this jumpy terrified person?” she asks. I think it was when someone started threatening you and your son’s life, you idiot.
We get to the ending and I’m expecting this amazing, jaw-dropping twist. But absolutely nothing unexpected happens. In fact, nothing really happens at all. Nothing. Zero.
This book read like the author was trying to fit in a whole pile of thriller clichés, and lost her own voice in the process. I did not enjoy this thriller very much, but hopefully other people get more enjoyment out of it.