I like a good psychological thriller novel, and this is an arena that female authors are knocking out of the park in recent years. Increasingly, I am seeing Irish authors popping up in this category and one of them was a name familiar to me, Andrea Mara, a fellow parenting blogger who writes at OfficeMum. Having read her debut novel last year, The Other Side Of The Wall, I was excited for what was to come from her followup thriller, One Click, when it was released this May. I pre-ordered it onto my Kindle so it popped up late at night and I was hooked. Having read it, I thought it was something my readers on here may find a good addition to their Summer bookshelves, so am sharing my review on here – as well as a competition if you get to the end and feel intrigued!
So, what’s it all about?
When Lauren takes a photo of a stranger on a beach and shares it online, she has no idea what will come of that single click.
Her daughters are surprised that she posted a photo without consent, but it’s only when she starts to get anonymous messages about the woman on the beach that she deletes the photo. It’s too little too late, and the messages escalate, prompting Lauren to confess to the woman. The woman has her own dark story, one that might explain the messages, but Lauren isn’t convinced. Then her ex-husband begins to harass her, telling her she shares too much online and brought this on herself.
She’s also dealing with other problems. A difficult client at work starts to show up in places he shouldn’t be. Her younger daughter is behaving out of character and Lauren can’t work out what’s wrong. And the cracks are literally beginning to show in her old South Dublin house, mirroring the cracks in her carefully curated life.
Meanwhile, the messages from the internet troll become more personal and more vindictive. Her friends feel she should stand up to her stalker, but Lauren isn’t so sure. And then she makes one small mistake that brings everything tumbling down.
So, what did I think?
One Click, Mara’s second novel published by Poolbeg, is a proper page turner. I couldn’t get to the end fast enough to find out the twists and turns. As someone who takes a lot of photos to share on social media and on my blog, the concept is definitely something which caught my eye – and the far-reaching power of the internet is always a worry, particularly as a parenting blogger. This is a realm that Mara knows well herself. Little things like the points being made by family and employers about social media use definitely sounded very familiar and gave the story a good sense of grounding in reality.
The inclusion of an online troll, or multiple trolls, as it were, in the story is definitely something which most people with an online presence can relate to. Combined with pressures going on in Lauren’s life, you can really get a clear picture of how these things can escalate and impact on your mental state. The lack of understanding from those who are not in that same arena – in this case, Lauren’s ex-husband, is also something that I have experienced – it can be easy to forget when your world is based around online people that the real life people around you may have no clue what the big deal is to you.
Cleo’s story intertwining with Lauren’s adds an extra element to the story and a few red herrings along the way which kept me on my toes.
There is a whole lot going on in this story but I powered through it in a day – testament to how much I wanted to figure out every twist in the story. There are a lot of back stories to keep track of, and I did have to re-read one or two sections to make sure I was definitely on the right track, but it was compelling writing and I couldn’t put it down.
I’ve seen others describe this novel as a precautionary tale, and that it certainly is. While we can easily base our lives online and not see any harm in it, opening ourselves up, in particular to a world of people who may not be who they say they are, is something that we shouldn’t walk blindly into. While I am hopeful that the real life consequences aren’t as mad-cap as they are in this tale, it definitely gave me food for thought afterwards.
If you’re into psychological thrillers, this is definitely one I recommend picking up this Summer. You can pick it up on Poolbeg for €14.99, in Easons for €11.24 or over on Amazon for £7.99 (paperback) or £3.99 (Kindle).
Alternatively, the lovely folks at Poolbeg have given me a copy to give away, a signed copy no less! If you’d like to be in with a chance to win, leave a comment either in this blog post or on this Facebook post and let me know what was the last book you just couldn’t put down – I can’t wait to hear what you’ve been reading! I’ll announce the winner on Wednesday 6th June at 6pm and will organise for the prize to be sent out to you ASAP so you can get your Summer reading on!
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I wrote this review off the back of reading Andrea Mara’s One Click which I purchased myself, I have not received any payment for this review and all opinions are my own. Poolbeg have very kindly offered the prize of one signed copy of One Click. This post contains some Amazon affiliate links, which means if you purchase the book on there, I get a few cents thrown my way, but I only ever use these links for products and books that I really do recommend.