As you take in the cover of Friend me by debut novelist John Faubion you notice the descriptive phrases “Current and Captivating” by one reviewer , as well as the words “A novel of suspense”, both of which I would heartily agree with. This novel definitely clips along at a suspense novel pace and draws you in right away. So if you are inclined towards a fast paced Christian suspense novel with a bit of an edge to it, then I would say give this novel a try.
Husband and wife ,Scott and Rachel Douglas are both in a rough spot, their marriage is on shaky ground as Scott is starting to cave under the immense stress at work. The only solution in his mind is to work harder so that he can be more successful in order to provide for his family. As a result, Rachel begins to feel more and more lonely as those long hours Scott is working is erecting a wall between them. And so as a young mom with 2 small children, she comes up with a solution which fits into her stay at home lifestyle. She signs up for a virtual friend through an up and coming new company called VirtualFriendMe.com. From there she shows Scott her new virtual friend patterned after an old friend of hers who passed away, and from there Scott ends up designing a virtual friend for himself, although his virtual friend is female, which leads to some difficulties which I am sure you can imagine.
With the background of the struggling marriage comes something even more sinister, a woman named Melissa who is very intelligent, but not playing with a full deck. As she has programmed the software to flag when a man who would be her perfect match, shows up, the flag waves for Scott. It’s just a small trifle that he happens to already be married. However, Melissa uses her job at the VirtualFriend Me company to manage to find out all she needs to know about Scott and Rachel and use that knowledge to get what she wants which is Scott and Rachel out of the way. The story unfolds and the suspense begins.
This story was definitely a page turner and I think that most people reading it will enjoy the current times aspect of it with the inclusion of the Virtual friend concept, that did draw me in. In reading it there were a few word choices that sort of put me off e.g.- describing something as “super secret” vs perhaps “top secret”, etc. I only mention it because when word choices like that happen and it takes me out of the story, then I think it’s odd. The other thing I would like to mention is that there is a pretty tough scene to read towards the end. I just like to forewarn folks as for me as a mom it was hard to read. As far as the themes of the book- the author talks in the question and answer section at the back of the book about the themes of “being real and being faithful“ and wow in our virtual world of Facebook where we can be and project whoever we want to be and have conversations with folks we have never met, I think that it’s a good message, very timely. As far as the ending, I think the author brought things together pretty well, it was maybe on the edge of believability for me and slightly rushed, but I think readers will be satisfied. All in all, I would say a good first novel and I hope the author keeps writing suspense novels. Well done.
I was given a complimentary copy of this book through the publisher in exchange for an honest review . All opinions expressed are my own.