Rachel Stone’s world was destroyed by a
stalker, Alan Griffin. After he went to prison, she rebuilt her life.
Now she has a three-year-old daughter and is in a new relationship. But someone is stalking her again. Her phone, her emails and her social media are hacked.
Rachel believes it’s Griffin, out of prison and looking for revenge. She needs to find him and make him leave her alone. But as Rachel is drawn into a hunt, she realises that something even more horrific is happening – something that will make her confront the childhood that has lingered like a ghost, and will force her to face the truth about her new life.
Is Griffin the one ruining her life? Or is someone else, someone far more dangerous, responsible?
Before I give you my thoughts, I would just like to give a trigger warning. I don’t normally include these in my reviews but felt it appropriate here. Rachel, the main character is recovering from anorexia, this features heavily in the book. As does mental health issues.
In a word this book is outstanding! I like my thrillers dark and devious and this one delivered on every level.
The book is told mostly from the point of view of Rachel who has pulled her life together after it was destroyed by her stalker. She is now doing a job she loves (nursing), dotes on her three-year-old daughter Lilly and has seemingly the perfect boyfriend.
Having children myself, the opening filled me with trepidation before we’d even got going. Would Lilly be involved in what was about to happen? I also felt instant sympathy for Rachel, trying to juggle everything as a mum can be mentally and physically exhausting.
Very quickly small things start unravelling for Rachel, her snapchat gets hacked, for example. She already has quite a developed paranoia so things escalate rapidly. You get drawn into Rachels world, just what is going on? Could it be Griffin or is something larger at play?
Rachel’s despair as this plays out is palpable. Her mistrust of everyone around her makes this so isolating for her. At times it is hard to figure out if what she is experiencing is real as her descent into paranoia becomes all consuming. You become trapped in her thoughts with her and trying to work it all out becomes ever harder.
Pacing and Tech
The pacing of this book is superb. Once I’d started reading, I found it incredibly difficult to pull myself away. Dan also intersperses the action with small snippets of information about how it is possible to hack your way into someone’s life. It’s terrifying that someone could worm their way in if determined enough. Check those emails and change your passwords people!
I loved this book from the opening pages to the last roll of the dice. This book will keep you guessing at every turn. The final third of this book will blow you away. Be prepared it’s going to be a bumpy ride.
The Regret is out now and if you can’t already tell I highly recommend it.
My thanks to Dan for sending me a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.
When not writing, Dan works as a data security consultant, demonstrating to corporations that should know better just how easy it is for hackers to access their most sensitive information. As a writer, his short stories have been widely published both in print and online, and he has twice been shortlisted for the Bridport prize. His debut novel, The Regret, was published by Bloodhound Books in Summer 2019. He lives in North London with his wife, daughter, and very, very hairy dog.