An obsessed stalker shadows a young man as his Internet company prepares to go public in the year 2000.
Frahmann (The Finnish Girl, 2014, etc.) tells the story of Danny Lahti, an innocent young man from the small town of Thread, Wisconsin. As the novel opens on New Year’s Eve 2000, Danny is happily ensconced in Los Angeles with his older boyfriend, Josh Gunderson. They are joint partners in an Internet venture called Premios, but Danny is mostly content to leave the running of the business to Josh and his right-hand woman, Orleans. But as Josh prepares to take the company public, some strange events start to plague the couple. Someone hacks into the company’s files. There is a break-in at Josh and Danny’s California basement. And when friend and investor Chip Grant flies to LA to investigate, he mysteriously disappears and is later found dead. As Danny, with the help of Chip’s wife, Cynthia, tries to uncover the truth, he keeps running into more and more questions. Is Josh really as innocent as he claims about the financial health of the company? Why do figures from Danny’s past keep resurfacing as he investigates? And who is the enigmatic stalker who seems to be following Danny around town? Frahmann certainly weaves an original story here as he brings readers along on Danny’s journey. Yet, ultimately, the plot feels both overly complicated and a bit thin. The schemes and machinations involving Premios are a little too convoluted to follow. The revelation of Danny’s stalker is both predictable and baffling—it seems difficult to believe that one character has been following Danny and secretly meddling in his life for years. Despite consistently repeating lines like “I’ve always wanted to tear away everything until we face ourselves in abject nakedness, unable to hide behind anything but our essence,” the stalker and his actual motives remain somewhat opaque. Focusing on character development instead of shocks and thrills would have helped make the novel a bit more emotionally accessible for readers.
An original, but uneven technology thriller involving murder and a mysterious manipulator.