Monday, 27 February 2017

Blog Tour: The Folower by Koethi Zan, Extract and Review



The Follower by Koethi Zan
Published: 23rd February 2017
Publisher: Vintage
Pages:330
Available on ebook
Rating: 3/5

Blurb
SHE'D DO ANYTHING FOR HER HUSBAND.
Julie has the perfect life
A kind boyfriend, loving parents and good grades. She has everything ahead of her.
Cora’s life is a nightmare
A psychopath for a husband, a violent father and a terrible secret. There’s no way out.
But one night, their worlds collide
Locked in an isolated house together, they must work out what has happened – and who they can trust to set them free.


Extract
It was a beautiful late-September night. The air was still warm. The stars, such as they were this close to the city, shone with full force. She took out a pack of cigarettes and knocked it against the post of the wooden porch that encircled the building. Instead of going in, she sat on the bench just under the windows, lit a cigarette, and took a long slow drag. Her parents disapproved of the habit and she agreed with them technically, but, this, her first cigarette in two days, was going down beautifully.

She blew out a long puff of smoke and absentmindedly rubbed the zipper of her bag. This paper was better than anything she’d done last year. She wondered if she should submit it for publication. Professor Greenfield would know the best places for it. Even if she didn’t publish it, this was one more step toward the J. Burden Senior English Award next year.

She stood up and walked over to the steps that led to the tracks, took a final hit on the cigarette, and dropped it on the sidewalk. She rubbed it out with her shoe and then lifted her foot to check underneath. She had this thing about cigarette stubs. Bad luck if they stuck to you. But her sole was clean. She laughed to herself. Yes, she thought, her soul was clean.

She took out her phone, checked the time. Twelve minutes until the train would arrive. She opened Instagram, scrolled through some posts, liked a couple. Boring. She checked the New York Times. Sent a text to Mark. Luv u.

She waited. He didn’t text back. Must not have his phone on him. She watched for a couple more seconds waiting for the dots to appear. Nothing.

Eleven minutes.

Should she read on the train or try to doze off? It was always a gamble as to whether she could sleep on the Metro North seats. She was so sensitive to smells and that horrid faux leather stuck to her skin whenever she moved. She could always read that New Yorker article she’d emailed herself.

Suddenly, the lights inside dimmed. She turned around, puzzled. Was Kurt leaving early? She leaned in toward the glass, but the interior office door was closed. She walked over to the side door and pulled hard but it was stuck fast. Locked. He’d gone home. She would have expected him to have said goodnight before he left or even to have waited with her. Unless he hadn’t noticed her out there. She glanced at the parking-lot exit, and, sure enough, a car was turning out onto the road. But why would he leave now? Did they change the train schedules?

Damn it. This had happened to her once before. She took a step toward the board to check the timetable, but suddenly felt the eerie sensation that she was not alone. She turned to see who it was, but before she’d gone full circle, a leather-gloved hand smothered her face and forced her head back. All she thought of at first was the pain.

That fucking hurts.

She was too disoriented to understand what was happening until he was dragging her by her head and neck across the parking lot. Her feet struggled to keep up, to stay planted on the ground; otherwise the arm squeezing her throat would strangle her.

Review

Julie Brookman has the perfect life. She has many friends, a boyfriend she loves, an affluent family and promising career ahead of her, until one night all that changes. Waiting alone at a deserted train station Julie is kidnapped by James a religious cult leader who believes Julie will bring him his destiny. Locked away in his house Julie struggles to cope and tries her hardest to communicate with James’ crazy “wife” Cora, who could turn out to be more dangerous than Julie first realised. The Follower is the gripping tale of two women whose lives have collided in a horrific way, can either of them find a way to set themselves free before it’s too late.

The narrative in The Follower flips between the story of Julie’s abduction, Cora’s life as a child where we learn some horrific things about her life and the story of Adam, an ex-cop on a one man crusade to find Laura Martin a girl he believes was abducted when she was seven years old.  This was a clever way of telling the story as the more we find out about Cora’s life as a young girl the more fearful we become for Julie’s safety. It’s definitely writing which draws you into its sinister plot.

It was a very different story from what I was expecting after reading the blurb. There is a lot more blood and violence than I’m used to reading and it’s probably not a book to read on your own.

I struggled to like any of the characters in this book. Julie is a girl who although very popular seems to have always gotten her own way either by using her looks or her speech to manipulate people to do want she wants, giving their thoughts or feelings very little concern and she comes a bit unstuck when this doesn’t work with Cora. I could sort of see the motivation behind Cora’s behaviour as she has had such a troubled childhood which would leave anyone desperate for affection, even if James was definitely not the character to give that affection to. The character I disliked the most was Adam. He’s spend years wasting his life chasing Laura Martin in an effort to save her from her captors  in order to redeem the ghosts of his sister Abigail. But Adam is one of those men who will never be the hero as he’s too buried in his paperwork and his beliefs to really help anyone. There are a couple of times in the book where he’s given a chance to change his life and be someone’s hero and he runs away, I found him so weak.

The intense way this book was written I was expecting that when these three stories finally worked themselves together that there would be an epic and shocking ending, instead the ending felt a bit like a circus act with clowns and left me disappointed.

This is a book about abduction, cults, the destruction alcohol and bullying causes and redemption. It’s a book full of violence and living in fear, it’s a book which I found gripping and intense in places and a book which has stretched me as it’s quite far out of my comfort zone.

I’d like to thank the publishers Vintage for this copy to review and for inviting me to be part of the blog tour for The Follower.

Julie Brookman has the perfect life. She has many friends, a boyfriend she loves, an affluent family and promising career ahead of her, until one night all that changes. Waiting alone at a deserted train station Julie is kidnapped by James a religious cult leader who believes Julie will bring him his destiny. Locked away in his house Julie struggles to cope and tries her hardest to communicate with James’ crazy “wife” Cora, who could turn out to be more dangerous than Julie first realised. The Follower is the gripping tale of two women whose lives have collided in a horrific way, can either of them find a way to set themselves free before it’s too late.

The narrative in The Follower flips between the story of Julie’s abduction, Cora’s life as a child where we learn some horrific things about her life and the story of Adam, an ex-cop on a one man crusade to find Laura Martin a girl he believes was abducted when she was seven years old.  This was a clever way of telling the story as the more we find out about Cora’s life as a young girl the more fearful we become for Julie’s safety. It’s definitely writing which draws you into its sinister plot.

It was a very different story from what I was expecting after reading the blurb. There is a lot more blood and violence than I’m used to reading and it’s probably not a book to read on your own.

I struggled to like any of the characters in this book. Julie is a girl who although very popular seems to have always gotten her own way either by using her looks or her speech to manipulate people to do want she wants, giving their thoughts or feelings very little concern and she comes a bit unstuck when this doesn’t work with Cora. I could sort of see the motivation behind Cora’s behaviour as she has had such a troubled childhood which would leave anyone desperate for affection, even if James was definitely not the character to give that affection to. The character I disliked the most was Adam. He’s spend years wasting his life chasing Laura Martin in an effort to save her from her captors  in order to redeem the ghosts of his sister Abigail. But Adam is one of those men who will never be the hero as he’s too buried in his paperwork and his beliefs to really help anyone. There are a couple of times in the book where he’s given a chance to change his life and be someone’s hero and he runs away, I found him so weak.

The intense way this book was written I was expecting that when these three stories finally worked themselves together that there would be an epic and shocking ending, instead the ending felt a bit like a circus act with clowns and left me disappointed.

This is a book about abduction, cults, the destruction alcohol and bullying causes and redemption. It’s a book full of violence and living in fear, it’s a book which I found gripping and intense in places and a book which has stretched me as it’s quite far out of my comfort zone.

I’d like to thank the publishers Vintage for this copy to review and for inviting me to be part of the blog tour for The Follower.

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