Thanks to social media, many people have thriving relationships with folks they’ve never actually met in person—online interactions that would have seemed unimaginable just a few generations ago. Here are a few notable novels, all reviewed by Kirkus Indie, which put these modern types of connections front and center:
Steve McManus’ debut thriller, Red Flag, reviewed last year, focuses on Danny Kasho, a blogger for California-based crime-news website City of Angels/Dead on Arrival, or CODA. He investigates a murderer he calls the “Angeles Arsonist”—a moniker that has “stuck like sticky tree sap.” Along the way, he banters with rival blogger Ursula Ruda and makes a video-chat appearance on a cable show. Kirkus’ reviewer calls it “a story like wildfire—starts cool but only gets hotter.”
In Doug Magee’s President Blog, an unemployed journalist named Gary King writes an article making the case for electing an anonymous blogger, Common 2 Cents, to the presidency. The piece is a hit (“it was being pinged around social media like a cute cat video”), making Gary well-known and turning the blogger into a viable Democratic candidate. “Magee has an ear for political satire…the writing is buoyant and genuinely funny,” writes Kirkus’ reviewer.
A dissatisfied office worker crowdfunds his way to fame and fortune in Pasha Adam’s American Asshole. In it, 29-year-old River Conway asks prospective funders on “Jumpstarter” to pledge him $1 million: “Donate to me today so I can live the life you wish you were living tomorrow.” The resulting publicity leads to a telethon and a reality show. Kirkus’ starred review calls the novel “a sharp contemporary satire that lovingly confronts the raucous realities of Hollywood, the internet, and the media.” David Rapp is an Indie editor.