Follow Me by Kathleen Barber

Follow Me by [Barber, Kathleen]

4 Stars

Publisher: Gallery Pocket Books, Gallery Books

Date of publication: February 25th, 2020

Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense

Where you can find Follow Me: Amazon | Barnes and Noble | BookBub

Book Synopsis:

From the author of Truth Be Told (formerly titled Are You Sleeping)—now an Apple TV series of the same name—comes a cautionary tale of oversharing in the social media age for fans of Jessica Knoll and Caroline Kepnes’s You.

Everyone wants new followers…until they follow you home.

Audrey Miller has an enviable new job at the Smithsonian, a body by reformer Pilates, an apartment door with a broken lock, and hundreds of thousands of Instagram followers to bear witness to it all. Having just moved to Washington, DC, Audrey busies herself impressing her new boss, interacting with her online fan base, and staving off a creepy upstairs neighbor with the help of the only two people she knows in town: an ex-boyfriend she can’t stay away from and a sorority sister with a high-powered job and a mysterious past.

But Audrey’s faulty door may be the least of her security concerns. Unbeknownst to her, her move has brought her within striking distance of someone who’s obsessively followed her social media presence for years—from her first WordPress blog to her most recent Instagram Story. No longer content to simply follow her carefully curated life from a distance, he consults the dark web for advice on how to make Audrey his and his alone. In his quest to win her heart, nothing is off-limits—and nothing is private.

First Line:

Everyone on the internet is a liar.

Follow Me by Kathleen Barber

My Review:

I had to take a few minutes to process what I had read when I finished Follow Me. The entire story chilled me. I should have known that the book was going to be creepy when I read the author’s foreword about the RAT’s and the whole secret community that envelopes it. Talk about scary!!

Follow Me had a medium-paced plotline. For the type of book it was, I was expecting the plotline to be a little faster. But, then again, if it did go more quickly, some of the smaller clues (about who “Him” was, Cat’s mental state…etc) would have been passed over.

I liked the flow of the book too. Usually, I don’t like it when there are more than two POVs’ in a book. The flow of the book is often thrown off. Not in this case. The author was able to switch between Cat, Him, and Audrey effortlessly. That made for a better reading experience for me.

I didn’t like Audrey. Her preoccupation with her Instagram, followers, filters, and brand was almost too much at times. She drove away her friends because of that. Even Cat wanted nothing to do with her by the end of the book. But, as much as I didn’t like her, I did feel bad for Audrey. She didn’t deserve what happened to her.

I didn’t know what to think of Cat at first. But, as the book went on, I began to understand her character. In her way, Cat was just as obsessed with Audrey as Him was. Her deteriorating mental state was apparent in the latter half of the book. I do wish that Cat’s secret was discussed earlier in the book. But, I can see why the author held it back until the last half of the book. It made sense.

I loved that the author kept Him’s true identity a secret until almost the end of the book. It made his chapters scarier to read. Him was completely obsessed with Audrey. It sickened me how easy it was for him to track her. He was able to use spyware to watch her at home. He knew everything about her. What scared me even more about Him was that he was unhinged. He imagined killing his family and decorating the house with their intestines. I wish that the author spent more time on that, but at the same time, I am grateful she didn’t.

The suspense/mystery angle of the book was wonderfully written. The author did a great job of keeping Audrey off balance and showing Him and Cat’s deteriorating mental states. She also did a great job of keeping Him’s real identity under wrap until the end of the book. Four people were on my list, and it was the last person I thought it would be.

The end of Follow Me was chilling. I did figure what happened between Him and Audrey was going to happen. Not to the degree, it happened, but I guessed that basic. But I wasn’t expecting Cat to do what she did. That threw me for a loop. But, it was the very end of the book that chilled me to the bone.

I would give Follow Me an Adult rating. There is sex. There is language. There is violence. I would recommend that no one under the age of 21 read this book.

I am on the fence if I would reread Follow Me. I am also on the fence if I would recommend it to family and friends.

**I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book**

Dead Souls by J. Lincoln Fenn

Dead Souls: A Novel by [Fenn, J. Lincoln]

Publisher: Gallery, Threshold, Pocket Books

Date of publication: September 20, 2016

Genre: Horror

Where you can find this book: Amazon

Book synopsis:

From the award-winning author of the acclaimed novel Poe comes an edgy and bone-chilling new novel.

When Fiona Dunn is approached in a bar by a man who claims he’s the devil, she figures it’s just some kind of postmodern-slash-ironic pickup line. But a few drinks in, he offers her a wish in exchange for her immortal soul, and in addition, Fiona must perform a special favor for him whenever the time comes. Fiona finds the entire matter so absurd that she agrees. Bad idea. Not only does Fiona soon discover that she really was talking to the devil incarnate, but she’s now been initiated into a bizarre support group of similar “dead souls”—those who have done the same thing as Fiona on a whim, and who must spend their waking hours in absolute terror of that favor eventually being called in…and what exactly is required from each of them in order to give the devil his due.

My review:

What would you do if the devil approached you, offered your heart’s desire and all you have to do is give him your soul and perform a special favor for him? Would you take him up on his offer or would you walk away?

That is what Fiona ran into in this book. After seeing her boyfriend of 3 years hugging another woman at the airport, she returns home to find that she has locked her keys in the apartment. Upset, she heads to the local bar, where she approached by a man who claims to be Scratch. He wanted to know if Fiona would give him her soul to get what Fiona wanted. All she had to do was perform a special favor. At this point, I would be calling over the bouncer to have him escorted off the property. But for some reason, Fiona didn’t, and she agreed.

Imagine her surprise when she wakes up in her bed and in the apartment that she locked her keys into. Imagine her surprise when her neighbor approaches her with her clothes and an envelope with her name on it. There is a card inside with her name, date, and favor.

Things start to get super creepy. Fiona starts going to a support group of people who have also made a deal with the devil. They ranged from a college student who wanted to levitate to a lesbian who wanted to be straight (yes, you read that right, even I did a WTF there) to a couple who desperately wanted children to a mysterious photographer. They meet once a month to see if they are all still there and to check their cards.

I am going to shut up at this point because the book got creepy and surreal. The favors got called in on everyone in the group.

The ending of the book was surprising. I expected some of it, but I didn’t expect the other thing what happened. Totally didn’t expect it and it kind of threw me off.

How many stars will I give Dead Souls? 5

Will I reread? Yes

Will I recommend to family and friends? Yes

Age range: Adult

**I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book**