The Friend Is A Psychological Thriller That Starts On A Promising Note

“Not every hour is equal. Ask an insomniac how long the night is.” – Teresa Driscoll, The Friend

Recently, I came across a book ‘I Am Watching You’ and found it intriguing, so I marked it as ‘want to read’. Psychological thrillers are my new favourite. So, when I got a chance to read and review ‘The Friend’ by the same author, Teresa Driscoll, there was no reason to not pick this book. The blurb was interesting, the cover was captivating.

The story in a nutshell

The Friend by Teresa Driscoll is a psychological thriller that tells the story of Sophie, mother of a four year-old, Ben who is desperately trying to have another child, and Emma, her new neighbour and friend, mother of Theo — Ben’s new friend.

The book starts on a promising note — Sophie is on train, miles away from his four-year-old son Ben, when she receives a disturbing call that says that two kids are severly injured and taken to the hospital; one of them is Ben. Sophie’s thoughts dash to Emma. Ben was with her. How could it happen?

Was it a mistake to trust Emma? Is it too late?

As I have mentioned above, psychological thrillers are my new favourite genre, but frankly, I found ‘The Friend’ a little tedious.

What could have been better?

The plot is intriguing; the writing is good, but the way it has been told makes it a bit tedious. Storytelling matters. The story moves to and fro — from the present to the flashback where Sophie met and befriended Emma and all that. Mostly in flashback.

Honestly, it didn’t grip me much. I didn’t want to know the details of the past — their friendship, descriptions of Sophie’s desire to have another child; details of Emma’s bonding with some village people; the effort to show Emma as a mysterious woman. Incidents of past seem disconnected. They do not raise the ‘what next’ question in your mind.

There is a quote that I liked from the book:

“Be strong, be sensible, be less bothered. Practise the art of ‘not caring’. There’s your solution.”

The author has tried to express the depth of Sophie’s emotions nicely, yes, but I felt is Sophie thinks too much, about everything and we don’t really need that (at least I found it tiring, considering the genre). But that’s just my opinion.

And then, the occasional one-page ‘present time’ was a little annoying as it seemed to me that the train is taking forever to reach the destination, thus pushing the actual issue and the cause farther.

Sophie’s friendship with Emma lacks warmth from the beginning, even though Emma was very helpful in certain matters, so the ‘friendship’ didn’t sound very convincing to me. I didn’t feel anything for them or any other character, which is disappointing. There are so many characters and I didn’t care about them. I would have liked it if the story had more of a ‘investigative/detective’ perspective.

Overall, for me, it was an okay read. It didn’t create much intrigue (after the first scene), and felt a little low on emotional quotient.  Considering the theme and the genre, it could have been better.

Author(s): Teresa Driscoll
Publisher: Westland
Release: March 2018
Genre: Fiction/Thriller
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Tarang Sinha is a freelance writer & author of 'We Will Meet Again'. Her works have been published in magazines like Good Housekeeping India, Child India, New Woman, Woman's Era, Alive, and a best-selling anthology @ Uff Ye Emotions 2.

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