Friend Request: Laura Marshall

Friend Request
Author: Laura Marshall
Publisher: Hachette Australia
July 2017
ISBN: 9780751568332
Paperback: 371 pages
Publishers Summary
When Louise Williams receives a message from someone left long in the past she feels sick.
Maria Weston wants to be friends on Facebook.
Because Maria Weston has been missing for over twenty-five years. She was last seen the night of a school leavers' party, and the world believes her to be dead. Particularly Louise, who has lived her adult life knowing herself responsible for Maria's disappearance. But now Maria is back. Or is she?
As Maria's messages start to escalate, Louise forces herself to reconnect with the old friends she once tried so hard to impress, to try to piece together exactly what happened that fateful night. But when another friend's body turns up in the woods outside their old school, Louise realises she can't trust anyone and that she must confront her own awful secret to discover the whole truth of what happened to Maria . . .
How chilling and spooky would that be? Receiving a friend request from someone whom you had thought to be long dead!
Well, Louise Williams was braver than me, I would have ignored it, but she didn’t, she responded, and right there begins an intriguing and very twisty tale.

Maria Weston transferred to Louise’s school in the senior year, there was a little bit of mystery attached to her but nobody knew exactly what. Louise hung out with the popular girls, she wasn’t quite one of them herself but tried hard to stay close. When she tried to include Maria, the popular girls would have none of it and so Louise, not wanting to upset them, excluded her too.

Then one night something terrible happened to Maria, she disappeared and was presumed to have drowned, Louise believed that because of something she had done on that night, she was to blame.

Now, years later, Louise is living alone with her small son when this bombshell drops, “Maria Weston wants to be friends”. At the same time an invitation to attend her High Schools 25th reunion arrives, is this a coincidence?

Louise wonders if she is the only one to have received this spooky friend request and sets out to contact her old school friends via Facebook. She is a little nervous as she hasn’t been in contact for years.

This truly is an insidiously creepy story, I thought the descriptions of the awful ways of teenaged schoolgirls to be very well written and probably quite emotive for some readers. 
Later in the book we meet one of the most Machiavellian of spine chilling characters, but you will have to read the book to discover who that might be -and it might no be who you think it is!
Then there is Louise herself, we know of course, that she has a secret, but there seems to be something more, an undercurrent of something a little sinister in her life. The author does reveal all, but in a slow, tantalising way which keeps the reader turning those pages.

A cracking debut novel from author Laura Marshall, and I very much look forward to reading her next book.
Highly recommended.
Review copy provided by Hachette Books Australia

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