Scare Me by Richard Parker #BookReview

About this book…

“When did you last google yourself, Mr Frost?”

Will Frost, successful businessman and happy family man, is woken to a disturbing midnight caller who asks him just that question.

Unnerved, but hoping that he was simply a victim of a twisted prank caller, he goes back to sleep in readiness for his pregnant daughter, Libby, and her boyfriend’s arrival at Gatwick the next morning.

When Will goes online, he finds a website has been set up in his name, showing photographs of the inside of his home, along with photographs of six houses he’s never seen before.

In the first of these strange houses, a gruesome murder has already taken place.

Will is then told that his own family is in mortal danger.

The only way he can keep them safe is to visit each of the houses on the website in person – before the police discover what has happened there.

Seven houses.

Seven gruesome homicides.

Seven chances to save his daughter’s life…

Will must embark on his twisted journey, encountering grisly murder after murder, as his torturer plays with his fears of losing Libby in a sick scavenger hunt.

But can Will ever save his daughter?

Scare Me is an arresting thriller that will keep you in suspense until the very end.

My review…

I will start by saying that this COULD have been an incredible book! The idea behind the plot is attention grabbing and reading it should be highly addictive. Imagine you are watching the 1980s tv series Treasure Hunt but it’s being directed by a psychopath- that’s how Scare Me felt to me! And when we meet this chilling and terrifyingly evil antagonist whilst committing murder for the first of a series of “clues” I knew that this was unlike any book I had read for a while.

Now most of us have probably googled ourselves at some point, nowadays we all have online footprints due to the recent increase in the amount of social media sites out there. But to be woken up out of the blue in the middle of the night by an unknown person and told to Google yourself…that’s just creepy! Still, Will Frost gets up and following the callers instructions he finds himself on a website that has a row of houses on it. He is advised that he needs to go to the address of the first house as the caller has apparently kidnapped his daughter Libby and if he doesn’t comply, Libby will die. So leaving his wife at his office, a safe environment for her but also for her to aid his warped scavenger hunt, Will gets on a plane and heads to the USA. So far so good! The gruesome discovery of a murdered family at the first house shows that someone means business but who are they and what is the connection to Will and his family?

What a brilliant idea for a book, the blurb attracted me straight away and I knew I had to read it. But for me, the plot was probably the best thing about this book. I didn’t connect with Will and his wife much and felt I would have liked a lot more depth to their POV rather than follow the pair of reporters or Tan. Both those threads seems to run on too long spoiling the addictive rhythm of the chase. It just didn’t flow in the adrenaline pumping rush that I would have liked and the ending didn’t quite work for me once we found out who was behind everything. But I can totally see why this has been optioned for a movie and actually think it’s one of those books that will work BETTER as a film! It needs a more visual media to bring home the full horror of Libby in captivity and to show the sheer determination of Will as he is being forced to perform these ghoulish tasks. In the right hands this plot will hopefully be developed into the hugely successful bestseller it could have been here.

I did like this book, I just didn’t love it. Something was missing, for me personally, that could have taken it to the ultimate level of terror that should have been there. I was living through someone’s worst nightmare but the nerve-racking tension just didn’t mount up for me. This is garnering some rave reviews though at the moment so if you’re a fan of fast paced thriller authors like Simon Kernick then it might be worth your while checking it out.

Scare Me was published by Endeavour Press on 26th September 2016 and is available to buy at Amazon UK.

About the author…

Richard Parker worked as a professional TV writer for twenty-two years and started by submitting material to the BBC. After contributing to a wide variety of TV shows he became a head writer, script editor then producer. He then decided to subject himself to the easy streets of writing and getting a novel published. Stop Me was picked up for publication in 2009 and it was nominated for the CWA John Creasey (New Blood) Dagger Award 2010 and entered the Amazon Top 10 bestseller chart.Scare Me , his second standalone thriller, has been acquired by Hollywood production house Relativity Media. Wentworth Miller has now completed his screenplay.