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A Friend in the Dark by Samantha M. Bailey

Wow! With A Friend in the Dark, Samantha M. Bailey starts off with bang (literally) and doesn’t let up. This fast-paced thriller had me up late at night racing through, yet wanting to savour, Eden’s online encounters with a sexy man who she fantasized about in high school. What a great premise! Who doesn’t wonder what happened to their teen crush? What if you had a second chance with them later on in life?

Recently separated, her daughter off to college and her parents having passed away not long ago, Eden finds herself lonely and with a need to redefine herself from ‘good girl’ and mother to someone new and exciting. A social media photo prompts her to look up Justin, a ‘bad boy’ she used to tutor and obsess over. When she befriends him, they engage in a steamy online relationship, something Eden never expected she would do. 

Things get a bit creepy when Eden realizes that Justin knows more about her than she has told him. Author Bailey builds the suspense as Eden wonders whether Justin has been watching her and she reminisces about the past. Her memory of the one night she actually was invited out by Justin to a high school party is a blur, which she contributes to alcohol. Her husband-to-be, Dave, who had a crush on her, accompanied her home that night and they became a couple. The next day they discovered a friend of theirs was missing after the party and was never found.

When Eden decides she wants to meet Justin in person, things take an unexpected turn. Eden’s strained relationship with her husband and daughter pushes her closer to Justin. Revelations about Dave and his change in behaviour trouble Eden, driving a wedge between them despite their efforts to remain on friendly terms. 

Half way through the novel, author Bailey executes a shocking twist you won’t see coming. Enough said. Read the book. And prepare to lose sleep.

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