By Richard Jay Parker (Allison & Busby)
ISBN 978-0-7490-0707-2 • £10.99 (pbk)
Richard Jay Parker’s inventive crime novel about the self-styled ‘Vacation Killer’ has a serial killer for the twenty-first century who sends out a chain email before sending the victim’s boiled jawbone to the police. So far, ten people have been murdered, seemingly at random and across the world, ranging from America to Germany and the UK. Leo Sharpe’s wife disappears during a pre-Christmas lunch and a frantic search ensues. A chain email is sent but nothing happens. Eventually, with no new leads, the search is scaled down and Leo begins to wonder whether “so many people forwarded the Laura email that this time it had actually got back to the sender.”
In STOP ME Parker taps into public concerns about using the internet. We are reminded constantly through hysterical headline-grabbing stories how, with the click of a button, electronic junk can bring down information networks, and how social media sites are a potential death-trap for the too trusting. Every day, when we log in, we need to believe that the people we come into contact with online are who they claim to be, that there is no nasty surprise lurking behind the gravatar of a pretty, blonde 22 year old art student. Parker astutely injects believability into the way that Leo’s character is compelled to follow-up every lead, to track every little piece of information about Laura, even if that means looking at Bookwalter’s website and communicating with him. We all know that it’s going to end badly but can’t tear away from the impending crash.
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