Friend Request – Laura Marshall (Audiobook)
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. . .
Another audiobook review and this one made for uncomfortable listening. Returning visitors will perhaps know that I find stories about bullies hard to read. Well Friend Request looks at the impact of school-girl bullying as it occurs and the consequences of one prank going too far.
The blurb for this story sold it to me. A Facebook friend request from a long dead friend sends Louise Williams into a turmoil. Maria wants to be her friend. But Maria wanted to be friends with Louise in 1989 and Louise let her down and chose to hang around with the popular girl rather than the girls she could relax and enjoy spending time with. Then something really bad happened and Maria died – so how can she now want to be friends?
Readers know that Louise has done something terrible in her past and that it still haunts her. Over the course of the story we (through a number of flashback chapters) see how Louise conducted herself at school. It makes for awkward reading at times as Louise was no angel and some of the things that she agreed to do in order to retain her status among her friends made her cringe as she recalls them. Made me cringe hearing about them and I got really annoyed with her.
In the present day Louise is a single mum and her 4yo son is her world. Her best friend is determined that Louise should start dating again but she is equally determined that Louise keeps away from her ex. When you read a thriller and there is a young child so integral to the plot you cannot help but worry if something bad may happen – tension I could have done without while I tried to cope with my stress over the bullying!!!
I loved the balance of past and future and there are subtle clues over what may lie ahead but you want to keep reading to find out what went wrong in the past. You also want to know how Maria can suddenly have arrived back in Louise’s life and who else may have heard from her. With a School Reunion looming is it really a good idea for everyone to revisit memories of days best forgotten.
I did mention that this was an audiobook read for me so some thoughts from a listener…narration duties were well handled by Elaine Claxton. She was very listenable and brought the story to life, particularly when covering the chapters from 1989 and she makes her voice younger and softer which was particularly effective. At over 11 hours in length this was one of the longer stories I heard last month but it didn’t feel it – it zipped along at a good pace and I didn’t experience a feeling of padding or mid-story drop off as I have with some of my other recent audiobooks.
For this story of school days which may be best forgotten the report card is very positive. I thoroughly enjoyed having Friend Request for company and would not hesitate to recommend it.
Friend Request is published by Sphere and is available in paperback, digital and audiobook formats. You can order a copy here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Friend-Request-addictive-psychological-thriller-ebook/dp/B01LWTZ751/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1506190627&sr=1-1