It feels like a lifetime ago when actress Myanna Buring introduced me to a new Young Adult book written by a friend of hers. That early pre-publication copy of Finding Lila has left me with a huge appreciation of all of Sarah Alderson’s books.
A dramatic opening. A transcription of a 999 call on December 10th. A panicked female caller is talking to the operator. There is an intruder in her house with a knife. She is hiding in the bathroom. There is a scuffle and the intruder is dead.
Lizzie is popular at work. She loves working at the publishing company and although she is only in the Finance department she enjoys being part of that industry. Best friend Flora also works there and they have a lot of fun even when work is quite stressful. Lizzie gets lonely though and has joined some dating sites to help her find that special someone.
On one of the sites she recognises James. The perfect boyfriend of Becca who used to be a PA at their firm. Becca had the perfect Instagrammed and Facebooked life. Everything was amazing or hashtagged “Blessed”. Then Becca had a horrific accident at the works Christmas Party. Noone at work ever saw her again and there were rumours of a big payout from the company. This was a couple of years ago and now here is James. Dating strangers.
Desperate to find out if he is a cheating boyfriend Lizzie gets a bottle of wine and spends the night searching the internet for anything she can find on James or Becca. Using facial recognition software she tracks Becca down to a new Facebook profile with a new surname. A gorgeous husband and a cherubic little baby. She also seems to be running a creative design company from her fabulously decorated home in the countryside. Lizzie is shocked and takes screenshots of the pages and sends those and the links to Flora. The accompanying message is fairly bitchy and likens the child to Gollum. She presses send.
When Flora doesn’t get the links or the photos Lizzie is a bit perplexed. But she doesn’t get time to ponder about what has happened as she is swiftly escorted off the premises at work. An email tipoff from an unknown source suggesting that she has been falsifying expense claims. Realising that the drunken message has been sent to Becca and not to Flora, Lizzie finds her life turning upside down. She has to find Becca and apologise before she does any more damage but its not quite that easy…
This is a superb thriller that twists and turns making you suspect virtually everyone in the book at some point. And while this type of story has become increasingly hackneyed in recent years this is a fresh take on the genre that you really won’t be able to put down.
Friends like These is the first psychological thriller from Alderson. Published by Mulholland Books they already have a second book from her lined up for publication in November 2019. Hooray!
Supplied by Net Galley and Mulholland Books in exchange for an honest review.
UK Publication date: Dec 13 2018. 320 pages.