Keith B Walters 25 November 2011 - 12:07pm
New York Times bestselling author Gregg Olsen has hit a bullseye with Envy.
His first young adult fiction title and the first of the Empty Coffin series, Envy is the stuff of the most modern of nightmares; the most up to date fear of many parents and children - a horror that goes unspoken and unreported until it's often sadly too late - that of cyberbullying.
Taking inspiration from a true case, Olsen skillfully treads the fine line between YA and adult crime fiction with a tale that is just the right shade of darkness to be enjoyed by both sides and will leave any reader cautious about the real dangers of the growing social network world and the anonymity that it can provide to those out to cause pain or harm by using it.
Katelyn Berkley is your everyday depressed teenager until she receives notoriety through her death in the bathtub. At first it's thought to be suicide and then the possibility of murder rises amongst the local community. Suddenly Katelyn is the subject of much more interest than she ever was when she was alive.
Her school friends, twin sisters Hayley and Taylor Ryan, seem to know much more than everyone else about Katelyn's past and, through their own special talent, are able to read more into the past events that shaped her and their own family. This leads to past secrets being unearthed, secrets that even their own father, Kevin, a true crime writer, would prefer his daughters leave undiscovered, as it will potentially also reveal elements about their own past.
Envy is a well-executed tale, with many a twist to keep the reader poised until the final page. The characters within the town of Port Gamble are lovingly drawn and the groundwork is very well established with this first book in the series to roll out into further novels.
It's also a beautifully crafted book, with a lovely design including email, text and newspaper excerpts and a great cover that suggests the eerie quality of a Japanese horror movie.
Whilst the internet and modern communications offer most of us wonderful tools for communication, Gregg Olsen's Envy comes as a chilling reminder of just how those same tools can be used to evil and potentially deadly results.