Can Anybody Help Me? – Sinead Crowley

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image“It was crazy really, she had never met the woman, had no idea of her real name, but she thought of her as a friend. Or at least, the closest thing she had to a friend in Dublin”

Struggling with a new baby, Yvonne turns to NetMammy, an online forum for mothers, for support. Drawn into a world of new friends, she spends increasing amounts of time online and volunteers more and more information about herself.

When one of her new friends goes offline, Yvonne thinks something is wrong, but dismisses her fears. After all, does she really know this woman?

But when the body of a young woman with striking similarities to Yvonne’s missing friend is found, Yvonne realises that they’re all in terrible danger. Can she persuade Sergeant Claire Boyle, herself about to go on maternity leave, to take her fears seriously?

 

Can Anybody Help Me? is a nicely done psychological thriller, that highlights people’s misunderstandings of internet security, shows how easy it is to become ‘friends’ with total strangers, how desperate people can be for interaction with others and above all plays on our fears of what we can ever really know about who is behind a screen name?

NetMammy is a chatroom for new mums looking for help, but someone is out there looking for new mums… At first Yvonne believes it’s just a coincidence that her friend has disappeared from the forum.

The forum sections themselves are well written, and highly realistic of chat rooms around the world, where the false sense of security of being behind a screen, means that every day people offer up a little too much of themselves before realising too late that once it’s out there it’s out there for good.

Sargeant Claire Boyle is a genuine character, enjoyable to read, as she tries, and often fails to balance out her work and home life due to this difficult to crack case and her own pregnancy woes.

With young mothers being the killers victims it’s a disturbing and twisted read with a kicker of a sting in the tale when the villain is revealed, as there are enough false leads to keep you second guessing all the way through, then leaving you staring at the page in disbelief when you know ‘whodunnit’.

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