Kaycee Raye thinks she has forever rid herself of the paralyzing fear that someone is watching her. But then, after spinning out dozens of therapeutic and fear-conquering “Who’s There” columns, her best friend’s biggest nightmare comes true. That’s all it takes to bring her own anxieties back to malevolent life. Now it seems that even the walls of her once-snug home have sprouted eyes. It doesn’t help that other creepy things are happening too - cameras flashing pictures of her when no one is around, mysterious images appearing on her computer…
But before this heroine of Brandilyn Collins’ latest suspense thriller Exposure can enlist the help of the police, Hannah, her dead friend’s nine-year-old daughter, goes missing. Could the danger she feels be linked with Hannah’s disappearance? Or maybe, as everyone seems to think, they’re unrelated and her mind is just playing tricks on her.
Interspersed between the chapters about stalker-obsessed Kaycee and the search for Hannah is the tale of Martin Giordano, his wife Lorraine and their daughter Tammy. The eventual weaving together of these two story threads is a feat of plotting that does Collins proud in the clever department.
Though plot is the story’s strength, Kaycee is a nicely developed character with whom it is easy to identify and sympathize. Martin and Lorraine are also interesting. I especially enjoyed the bit characters Nico and Bear for their pure villainy.
The book is written with true suspense finesse, has lots of nasty surprises, and contains an abundance of pounding heartbeat, sweaty palm and adrenaline-producing passages. (Poor Kaycee - what she has to endure to give us these vicarious thrills and shivers!) I found Collins’ writing style so suited this genre, I lost all awareness of it as I was swept along by the story.
The theme of fear dominates this tale, fleshing out how its presence tricks, debilitates, paralyzes, poisons and spreads. Kaycee’s faith in God often helps to calm her inner frenzy, but it doesn’t provide any kind of miraculous cure – something that would have felt like a cheating kind of solution anyway. Instead, her “Who’s There” column at the end of the book speaks of the long-range project that conquering deep-rooted fears is for most people, and the part that God plays in it: