‘Copycat’ by Alex Lake [Book Review]

Image: Rakuten Kobo

I was looking for an easy read, preferably a thriller with a sickening twist, when I stumbled upon this book. And it was so easy for me to get hooked on it, especially considering its premise.

What it is about

A woman learns that someone has set up a separate Facebook account in her name, and the said account has been sharing photos of her and her family, most of which have been taken in actual places they have been to. Later, people get emails sent from an account bearing her name. But like the sketchy Facebook account, it’s different from the one she actually uses.

Things get even crazier, eventually, until she is on the verge of losing not only her sanity but also her family. But before things completely fall apart, she needs to do something. She needs to find out who is behind these sinister acts and what they truly need from her.

What I like about it

I had fun reading it. It had everything I was looking for at the time, so I really couldn’t put it down, except when I really had to go out or do something else (which happened a lot considering how busy I was at the time I was reading it).

I also liked how it plays with a lot of concepts associated with modern life, including social media. In fact, I think a huge chunk of its success as a novel lies in its clever illustration of how easy it is to impersonate a person online and by using pieces of information that can be easily accessed by looking at their online profiles and devices. Of course, this made me reflect on my own habits concerning phone and social media use.

What I don’t really like about it

The first part of the book really kept me guessing, and it was part of the reason why I could barely put it down. However, later on, the answer became more obvious to me. But of course, I am also considering the possibility that maybe it was a “me” problem, especially considering how well-versed I have been with thriller novels with similar formats.

Although I liked its ending, I also could not help but notice that some parts of its latter part, which I thought really did a great job setting up that ending, felt a bit too contrived.

I also could not fully embrace the motive of the culprit behind the impersonations, which is eventually revealed toward the end of the novel. Sure, psychopaths can be weird and all, but I don’t know, I wasn’t quite sold. To be honest, I am still having doubts right now.

Moreover, the novel makes an ugly revelation about how mental health issues are still handled by people in the time we live in, particularly the stigma faced by people who have them. This disturbed me. But while its portrayal gets really ugly in the book, I guess it can be a wake-up call for readers at the same time, just like an invitation for them to think about how they themselves would react when confronted by the same circumstances.

Despite its flaws, though, I think this book still gave me a fun reading experience. Anyone who’s into thrillers should check it out.

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