One Click by Andrea Mara | Book Reviews | Crime/Thriller

By Swirl and Thread

‘One photo couldn’t hurt, could it?’

One Click is the second novel from Irish writer and blogger Andrea Mara. A psychological thriller, One Click is described as a ‘disturbing tale of cyber-stalking and trolling, blogging and social media, but it’s also about real life – a marriage break-up, trouble with children and work, and some good old-fashioned murder.’

Just published by Poolbeg Press, One Click is a novel for our time, a novel that will certainly make you stop and rethink your social media habits and patterns.

As a blogger I am online a lot. There are times everyday when I stop and think about what I am doing and why? Social Media and my blog have opened up a whole new world to me where I have met authors online and in real-life, and I have made some amazing online friendships with fellow bloggers across the globe. I have developed great working relationships with publishers and tour organisers and I have had the honour of receiving and reviewing some incredible books….but….and there is a but…..Do I spend too much time online? Are other areas in my life affected by it? Have I unwittingly revealed too much personal information? These are all questions in my head after reading Andrea Mara’s latest novel One Click.

Lauren is on holidays in Italy with her two young daughters. She works as a psychologist but her hobby is a photography blog. It’s something for herself and it’s something she is very proud of. Her marriage has just broken up and this time away with her girls is to regroup and get some much needed time out away from the stresses of her busy life in Dublin.

In complete innocence, Lauren takes a snap of a young woman lying on a beach. For Lauren, this image symbolises life pre-children, so she uploads it without a second thought with the caption #howiwishispentmytwenties The picture unexpectedly goes viral and for Lauren she gets caught up in the initial buzz. The online interaction is very exciting and as a blogger, Lauren is thrilled with the reaction. But soon this feeling changes to dread, when Lauren is faced with a very sinister message from a stranger wanting to know who is the woman in the image.

Lauren has been on the butt end of a troll in the past, at a time when her husband constantly referred to her online obsession, leaving Lauren upset but still determined to continue with her blog. She has made numerous friends online, a community of like-minded people who have been there for her when she needed company and a chat. This time though the threat is more real. As Lauren returns to Ireland, she tries to dismiss it as nothing but an ominous feeling descends over Lauren when she begins to receive messages with personal information that no troll should know.

Lauren decides it’s time to contact the woman in the image and soon discovers that this woman has a rather mysterious past leading her to all sorts of conclusions and raising more alarm bells.

Meanwhile work is challenging for Lauren with a very menacing client, an individual whose presence Lauren finds incredibly unnerving. Her boss is questioning her commitment to the job and her daughter seems to be upset about something leading to some very unusual behaviour.

With the continued threatening online presence and the challenges in her personal life, Lauren feels like her life is literally falling apart.

Is it her fault? Is this a consequence of her online behaviour? Are her daughters being influenced by her constant need to have her phone on hand? Was her husband correct in his observations? Who is this troll and why are they fixated on Lauren?

Lauren only ever joined the Twitter community to be part of a wider conversation and following on from the break-up of her marriage, her Twitter friends helped her through the lonely evenings spent on her own. Looking at it with a wider lens, does this opening of our homes/lives to the online world make us a target for these trolls, who can make the internet a very scary and unsafe place indeed?

One Click is a very contemporary novel, a very thought-provoking look at the impact of social media on all our lives and the impact that one innocent tweet or post can have. Cyber-stalking is an unfortunate and very frightening side-effect of having an online presence and to be honest I think we all need to be little more aware of what we post, and even more importantly of what our children are posting.

One Click is an unsettling and disturbing novel, but it is also a cautionary tale for all. It is a fast-paced, page-turner that you will not put down. It is an eye-opening read, reflecting on what can go so very wrong online today in a society that is switched on ALL the time.

Menacing. Ominous. Scary.

(c) Swirl and Thread

Order your copy online here.

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