I received a free copy of this book from the author, whom I know through a book club, in return for an honest review. The story of the main character in this book was interesting, mysterious and I could not let the book down the moment I started reading it. I finished it over two consecutive days. Because I am doing my medical residency in the psychiatry, I thought at the beginning that it would be difficult to write an honest review without criticising many aspects of psychiatry-related issues in the book. However, but generally, and based on how the story ends, I do not have anything to criticise. I recommend reading this book.
I received Net Switch as a gift so I downloaded it without reading a single review or having any advance knowledge about the story. Being an entirely naive reader is a good starting point for this psychological thriller. Denise Baer has created a unique voice for her narrator's diary entries and as the saga loops through a roller coaster ride down a rabbit hole I was carried along. The desire to shake the narrator by the shoulders and say "don't do that!" was almost overwhelming as she makes a less-than-love connection with a man she meets in an Internet chat room. But as the story continued I began to speculate about the narrator's secrets and her veracity as a storyteller. I'm not going to give it away in the review because the journey is the pleasure of this mysterious novel. I recommend it to readers interested in mystery and psychological suspense novels.
This is one of the best books I have read in quite a while. Full of twists and turns. As a reader, a book has to grab me in the first few sentences or I tend to put it away. I couldn't get enough of this book. I wanted to finish it in one day, but schedules don't permit that so I allowed myself something to look forward to for a three day period of time. I don't want to talk much about the plot b/c I fear giving anything away. However, this book has humor, suspense, keeps you on your toes. After researching this author, I was shocked to see that this was her first novel. As a self published, unknown author, her writing is in the same caliber as well known traditional authors.
Net Switch is a psychological thriller and a survival story, it mixes a bit of drama with the mundane, a bit of mystery with crime and manages to do it in a way that had me believing I knew what was coming (occasionally I did), but most of the time being knocked for six by something completely unexpected.
The unexpected twists in this story all made complete sense once explained, they were complex and well thought out and sometimes so completely gut-wrenching I was staring wide-eyed at my kindle. The deceptively simple ways Denise twisted things was truly brilliant.
Denise Baer has unleashed a truly scary book here, yet you'll find no ghosts or goblins.
Taking the format of journal entries, this book may not be everyone's cup of tea, but give it a try if you would like a true mind-bender. Explore the inner mental processes of Sydney and experience the story as she sees it.
I doubt you will be disappointed.
*Note:I was provided an electronic version of this book in return for an honest review*
This book is well written and hits the ground running, wasting no time in getting right into the story. I couldn't put this book down once I started reading it. It is definitely a cautionary tale, showing the very real dangers women expose themselves to hooking up with strangers they meet on the internet. The loneliness of Sydney Hayes leads her to make a choice she can't turn back from, even when she tries. The book is written in a journal entry format, making it even more terrifying and believable. She addresses the reader as "friends" which almost makes it seem like you're reading the journal entries as messages or long status updates on facebook or something like that, which added to a sense of concern for the character.
By far, Denise Baer's Net Switch is the best self-published book I have read. I stayed up late and got up early to finish. Loss of sleep is one of the best compliments for readability that a book can ever receive. The obscure nature of reality fills this psychological suspense novel with multiple mental twists and turns and invites the reader to sit shot-gun with one very tortured soul.
In order to alleviate her suffering, the narrator finds herself in more than one risky situation. Sydney finds herself looking for attention in online chat rooms. When she identifies herself as "Newbie," a gentleman aptly named Arcane moves in to claim his prey. Sydney makes every mistake that can be made when it comes to meeting people online. It comes as no surprise that the relationship that springs from such secrecy results in pain and frustration for Sydney.
The book is written as a series of journal entries, but from the viewpoints of two narrators. Caitlyn's entries (fewer and farther in between) seem a bit jarring and unrelated at first, but given how the setting of Net Switch locates the narrator in a mental institution on the first page, the two seemingly disconnected narrators soon morph into two sides of a sad tale.
The narrative is written in a close first-person point of view. Italics are often used to show Sydney carrying on an inner-monologue. The author impressively sustains the almost suffocating perspective throughout the novel, which is no small writing feat. Indeed, the limitations of the narrative voice provide the novel's utterly engrossing appeal.
The connection between the two voices shown in the journal entries could have perhaps been bridged a bit better with an outside transition between the two, such as another character shown reading the entries to help provide more context. Another small quibble would be in the sexually gratuitous videos found on YouTube and the seemingly inept police officers that appear in the story. Yet, considering the fragile and skewed mindset of both narrators, the reader starts to question their own perceptions of the text.
Sydney then moves to Seattle for a fresh start, but she really just begins slowly unraveling all over again. The reader may question how she affords such a move, but that's all in the fun of reading this book. Indeed, the reader will question almost everything by the end.
The sex and language flow naturally as part of the story, and overly graphic scenes are not dwelled upon, but could potentially not be to some readers' taste. However, great literature seeks to capture all walks of life, and Net Switch does just that.
JeriWB's Rating: 4.5 Stars ("Really Liked It") A complimentary copy was provided by the author in exchange for this review.
Net Switch is a fast paced psychological thriller. It quickly catches the reader's attention and holds it throughout. The main characters Sydney has a chance online encounter with a younger man that leads to him stalking her. The action is at times intense as she struggles to keep herself safe from a man that seems almost invisible at times.
It is a well thought out and well written story. True to the thriller genre there are many twists and turns to the plot before the truth is at last revealed. (I hesitate to even discuss the plot for fear of spoiling things.) All in all it's a great book I would happily recommend. As far comparisons I would put it in the same vein as a Chuck Palahanuik novel like Fight Club or Invisible Monsters.
I first met Denise after she posted details of my writing on her blog. This came about after reading an article she wrote on Linkedin. Denise's idea is to help indie authors to promote other indie author's work and for them to pay forward to other indie writers. I commend her in these endeavours and personally think she has a great idea and committment. Afterall we all need support.
I decided to purchase and download Denise's book 'Net Switch' and to write a review as 'pay forward'.
When I began to read the book - honestly it was a little different from the books I normally read and initially had issues of 'getting a hold of what was happening'. Eventually the storyline began to focus on a character Sydney, whose initial experience in a chat room took me on a journey of intrigue and wonderment.
From that moment onward I couldn't put the book down. From one disturbing story to another forced me to continue reading to see what was going to happen next. Denise has captured imagination as a writer. She used journal enteries to tell the story of a person's life and used her writing craft to keep the reader clicking their e-reader button to go to the next page.
The story has so many twists and turns, I needed to keep reading late into the night wanting to know 'what happened next'. I couldn't sleep until I knew what happened in the story. It actually took over my life. Today I completed the book.
Denise, I must say you did a terrific job in writing this book. Not only would it have taken much research but determination to 'get the story right'. I commend you on a great story with a finish to leave this reader with a feeling of relief to know I was satisfied and it will remain in my memory for some time.