Advances in social media technology beg the question “Who’s watching?” So, watch out.
Faubion’s thriller is a timely novel about the risks to privacy inherent in Internet communication; its pornographiclike capabilities to watch and interact from afar; and the social repercussions for a family experiencing the typical economic strain of our times. Melissa Montalvo is a software architect with some seriously disturbing personality traits. The book begins with a murder and her rise in the ranks of Virtual Friend Me, a company that takes avatars to a new level by creating a lifelike image of a “friend” who learns about the user through interaction and becomes more human in the process. Scott Douglas and his wife, Rachel, are distancing themselves through work and marital stress. They each create a “friend” through the website and spend more and more time with their virtual others, ignoring the issues in their life together. Behind the screen is Melissa, intercepting emails and stalking her perfect man, Scott, electronically. Fantasy becomes psychopathic, and Melissa emerges in the real world physically working to rid Scott of Rachel and creating the life she imagines with him, regardless of the murderous events needed to get there. The story is current and captivating but with a purpose: Faubion fills the pages with biblical quotations and Christian teachings.
The book captures well our insidious addiction to social media, but the novel's pace is slowed by morality lessons and a predictable conclusion.