Newest Review: ... and clearly the most talented psychology student in his year. He fancies Dr Sheila but bides his time. Unknown to her, tasks D... more
Member Name: dawnymarie
Creep - Jennifer Hellier
Date: 12/06/12, updated on 12/06/12 (129 review reads)
Advantages: A fine first effort - once it warms up it is difficult to put down
Disadvantages: Could have got going a little sooner and some characters could have more meat on their bones
Why read this?
This book could have easily passed me by if I hadn't read a review by a fellow member on Ciao. The cover depicting handcuffs, and being a suspense thriller, means that I am outside my genre here. But the reviewer had me interested enough to buy this one and read it at my earliest opportunity. Yes, it promised to have me on the edge of my seat. I looked forward to the experience.
As a recovering sex addict Dr Sheila Tao, a captivating oriental woman, is settled and in a cosy relationship with a successful charmer, ex America footballer, Morris Gardener. All is going well in her life until her estranged father dies and she collapses into the arms of her teaching assistant, graduate student, Ethan Wolfe. Three months later Morris proposes to her and after accepting she ends her affair with Ethan. After ending things with the attractive young man, 16 years her junior, she finds herself living in constant fear as Ethan threatens to end her relationship and career. He stalks her physically and via text/email. She is frightened....she should be, if he can't have her then no one can and especially not Morris.
What did I think?
The book appears thick but once you open the pages the text size is pretty large so I predicted the read would last a few days - a fast reader may get through it in a day. I don't mind large text for a change as it is easy on the eyes.
The style and format of the prose was different to anything I have read before and initially it took me a few pages to feel comfortable with it. As a few more pages turned I began to grow interested and I would say by the fifth chapter I was not wanting to put the book down. The first few chapters were setting the scene and settling the characters in before the heat got turned up.
I first meet Sheila, the main protagonist, in her work place at the University, where she teaches Psychology, and she seems a nice enough person though I could not really warm to her. Her character began to become more developed as the prose progressed and I discover why she has a sex addiction. This was interesting and I found it believable that she could possibly develop her addiction after her loveless first marriage, to a guy she walked in on having sex with a male work colleague. I did feel empathy for her and from there on I suppose that is when I started caring about what happened to her.
Her fiancé, Morris, is a recovered alcoholic. After injuring his knee he could not follow his dream career in football and was in a marriage, from a young age, that didn't make him happy. He turned to drink and in time the marriage ended. He went to Alcoholics Anonymous meetings after meeting with Sheila and she supported him through it. I found his character more likeable than Sheila's and therefore warmed to him much sooner. He is a strong, large man and handsome for his years. Distinctive and in a powerful position in a Bank. He is loyal and fiercely protective of those he loves. I liked him.
Ethan Wolfe was described as handsome, young, toned and very attractive. This may be appealing but his personality never was to me. Even before Sheila broke up with him I wondered what she saw in him. He was cocky and had attitude. He had odd behavioural problems - didn't like to be closed into a room by the door being shut. My alarm bells sounded early on in the book when Ethan was around. The author succeeded in making my skin crawl when she wrote about him and I thought it believable, of his psychotic personality, when he immediately turned on her with hate. It seems that if he had ended the relationship that would have been fine but for her to end it, for a man who he thought of as a fat boy (well, the words were much harsher than that, as there is bad language throughout the book, but I'll let you use your imagination here) infuriated him. He made a very good bad guy and the psychological games began.
Other characters are woven into the prose nicely and include Sheila's therapist, Marianne, who is also a close friend. Her husband, Jerry, will also come into this tale when Sheila leaves town in a hurry - thought to have wanted to start a new life - but Morris' instinct tells him that she is more likely missing. A quick police investigation into her being missing is closed with them being satisfied that she left, after telling Morris about her addiction, and didn't want to be found. It is then that Morris hires Jerry and the unlikely duo go to work. I liked this concept and thought that it worked in two different ways. Firstly, the prose wasn't bogged down with the police investigation stuff and allowed for underhand ploys, boyish antics and sheer bloody mindedness to play out. Secondly this crazy duo added a bit of humour to the prose which I found refreshing.
As the plot develops I thought that I had guessed the outcome, I was surprised it began so soon in the book and I thought I was going to be going through the motions from then on. I was wrong and I'm glad I was. Something sinister and very unexpected came to light ,after a frantic search for Sheila.
The pace is on fire once this tale is set up and I couldn't put the book down - I had to eventually but I was reluctant. Some parts of the book reminded me of scenes from the series called Dexter, but don't worry when you come to that bit - this is not a copycat Dexter.
By the end of the book I was in suspense and actually cared about what happened to Sheila, in her horrifying predicament. I physically winced at times. The ending comes thick and fast and I hardly have time to take in the information and register the outcome. The finale surprised me but was satisfactory.
Morris will search for Sheila until his death if need be - he knows she has not left town to begin a new life and he fears something may have happened to her ...someone is playing mind games and eventually he will discover who that is. All is not what it appears in this one...
This was a new genre for me, not something that would normally appeal. I am glad that I gave it a chance as it was a suspenseful and thrilling read - once it warmed up. I knock one star off as, for me, it did seem a little slow initially. Once the story got going it was a page turner and I couldn't put it down. I liked the twists, turns and uncertainties - it got my pulse going at the end. The author managed to get me to care about Sheila, the main protagonist, eventually but first impressions didn't appeal. Morris was endearing straight away and I rooted for him when he put himself in danger. Out of the pair of them Morris was my main concern. Ethan filled the role of psychotic bad guy well - I didn't have any feelings for him at all - he had a girlfriend, Abby, who remained two dimensional though we do get to know her a little better nearing the end of the book - I would have liked to know a little more as she seemed an interesting character. When the pace got going it was a good tempo, especially near the end of the book. Glad I read it and would recommend for a suspenseful read - once it gets going.
Also published on Ciao
Summary: Got the song in my head now and it is appropriate for this novel