Louise has been haunted by the role she played in the death of her friend, Maria Weston for twenty-five years, inhibiting her ability to connect with people today for fear they’ll discover who she really is and reject her just as she rejected Maria years before.
Then Louise gets a friend request from Maria. Assuming it’s a prank, Louise accepts and opens up old wounds that threaten to destroy the life she’s built and her sanity.
Laura Marshall’s Friend Request provides a timely warning in the day and age of social media to be careful how much of yourself you put out there. The hook is a solid one and for the first quarter of the novel, watching Louise attempt to figure out just who is behind the warnings and if Maria could, possibly, be alive is intriguing enough. Peppered with flashbacks to the fateful time in high school, Friend Request sets itself up for some interesting revelations and reveals.
Or at least it feels like it should.
The middle half of this novel feels like it’s spinning the wheels a bit as Louise tries to figure out who is torturing her and why. It makes the final denouncement of who is behind the keyboard and several other revelations about what happened to Maria feel a bit anti-climatic once we get there. There are a couple of good twists in the final pages and Marshall sets them up well. But, by the time we got to them, I was so weary of Louise’s self-doubt, guilt, and increasing paranoia that I was more relieved the novel was finally moving forward than I was in finding out who was behind this revenge plot.