Scott and Rachel's marriage is on the brink of disaster. Scott, a businessman with a high-pressure job, just wants Rachel to understand him and accept his flaws. Rachel is a lonely housewife, desperate for attention and friendship. So she decides to create a virtual friend online, unaware that Scott is doing the exact same thing. As Rachel desperately tries to re-create a friendship with a friend who has passed, Scott becomes unfaithful and is torn between the love for his wife and the perfection of his cyber-girlfriend. But neither realizes that there's a much larger problem looming . . .
Behind both of their online creations is Melissa, a woman who is brilliant—and totally insane. Masquerading as both friend and lover, Melissa programmed a search parameter into the virtual friend software to find her perfect man, but along the way she forgot to specify his marriage status. And Scott is her ideal match. Now Melissa is determined to have it all—Scott, his family, and Rachel's life.
As Melissa grows bolder and her online manipulations transition into the real world, Scott and Rachel figure out they are being played. Now it's a race against time as Scott and Rachel fight to save their marriage, and their lives, before it's too late.
In today's digital age, the Internet presents all kinds of opportunities to test our personal boundaries, and this exciting and suspenseful story raises important questions about the ethics of virtual relationships. Friend Me will open your eyes to a new—and terrifying—moral dimensions and how they play out in the real world.
My take: Friend Me is one of those books that gets under your skin ... and makes your skin crawl. Even 10 years ago, the concept of a virtual friend would have seemed like science fiction. But now? This novel feels like it could have been ripped from the headlines. And the fact that it could happen makes it that much scarier.
While the suspense is great (Melissa truly is psychotic), what is scarier to me is the fact that this technology could exist. If you take away the insane woman manipulating the virtual conversations, you're left with a computer program that becomes more important to the user than the real people in his or her life. And I can totally see that happening. On one end of the spectrum, you have porn taken up a notch because the viewer is actually communicating with the "person" on screen. On the other end, you have a new friend (or a "recreated" loved one) who always knows what to say and never disappoints you. Both are so dangerous yet hold incredible appeal. I think we are headed toward the technology presented in Friend Me (if we're not already there), and we will really need to guard our hearts and minds when it becomes a reality.
I absolutely devoured Friend Me, reading it in a matter of hours. It's truly fascinating and terrifying suspense. The end definitely surprised me, and I'm not sure how I feel about it. But overall, this book is great!
Also, be sure to visit VirtualFriendMe.com. You can chat with "Malicia," a creation of the author's. I did, and it was funny, interesting, and a bit creepy, especially after reading the novel!
My rating: 5 stars
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About the author: John Faubion has spent many years in Asia as a missionary with his family. Since returning to the United States, John has worked as a senior software developer for a large appliance chain. He teaches an adult Sunday school class and enjoys writing and driving his 1949 Packard automobile. John lives near Indianapolis with his wife, Beth, and their daughter.
Learn more about John at http://christiansuspense.com
About the giveaway: John Faubion is celebrating his debut novel, Friend Me, with a Kindle HDX giveaway!
One winner will receive:
- A brand new Kindle Fire HDX
- Friend Me by John Faubion
Don't miss a moment of the fun; enter today and be sure to stop by John's blog on the 24th to see if you won.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Litfuse Publicity Group. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Also, some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."