Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Stop Me by Richard Jay Parker

Do you forward email?
Review by Gerry(TheMole)

I found this book really enjoyable, readable and unputdownable despite the synopsis. The synopsis for this book leads you to believe this book is about email circulating from a killer. As an ex-IT manager I had contradictory feelings about this book. The first was 'how was the author going tackle a book which was hinged around such a technical subject?' and the other was 'how much is email going to actually figure in this story?'.

The synopsis tells us about eleven deaths and emails circulating in advance announcing the victim and inviting recipients to forward this email to ten friends in the hope that someone will accidentally return the email to the killer and so prevent the death. The book, however is about celebrity - the celebrity that serial killers want and that they attract. It's about the celebrity that people seek in some of the darker web sites. It's about ego and perceived power.

Leo was at a restaurant with his wife, Laura, when she slips out to the toilet and disappears from his life. He is questioned about her disappearance by the police as an email from the killer circulates describing her as the next victim. He is released from custody and police enquiries into him stop after a year but he realises he is still being watched and he sets about trying to find out anything he can. He has lost all confidence in the police and anything he finds, or that happens, he will keep to himself.

The story is fast paced as Leo rushes, almost blindly stumbling, along a path trying to find what has happened to Laura - hopefully leading to justice?

This book is not a whodunnit although we don't know who did do it. We find out during the course of the book and when we do, we get a surprise. Or should that be surprises?

Did I enjoy this book? Yes, I most certainly did and while technology is used as a tool the author makes only one claim in IT that I would challenge. He refers to an 'untraceable email address'. It is amazing how little the average person can do on the web that cannot be traced if the tracer has the authority of international law. But is this a REAL factor in the story? No because in this case it would still not be traceable to a single person and if the word 'untraceable' was omitted this error would not have occurred.

Is this the best crafted novel I have read? Well I have to say, honestly, it is not badly crafted although not the best - but it is also Richard's first novel and as a first novel it is very good. He writes about dark web sites and internet celebrity and the celebrity that serial killers seek with confidence that reflects something of an understanding of people and I felt I learnt from this.

I would definitely recommend this book to thriller readers and maybe even whodunnit readers.

TheMole's review - 4 stars
Genre - Crime, Mystery & Thriller

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