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Virtual Strangers (Love and murder in cyberspace) by [O'Leary, Susanne, Zaltin, Ola]
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Virtual Strangers (Love and murder in cyberspace) Kindle Edition

3.9 out of 5 stars 42 customer reviews

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Length: 263 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
Page Flip: Enabled

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Product Details

  • File Size: 659 KB
  • Print Length: 263 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publication Date: February 27, 2011
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,094,393 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Internet forums gone wrong... That is the best way I can describe this fast-paced story by authors O'Leary and Zaltin.

Is anyone like whom they seem to be online? Who can you trust? Who should you fear?
A world where nothing is private and everything can be used against you.

I was immediately drawn into the story in the first chapter and the story held my attention until the final, surprising ending. Most chapters are split into the two viewpoints of the main characters. Reading each of their "take" on the situation at hand gave the story much more depth than what I was expecting.

A fresh, modern take on the movie "Strangers on a Train". I look forward to more collaborations between these two authors.
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Format: Kindle Edition
"Seabee" from England and Annika, the knockout from France, are two strangers, both in difficult relationships. They meet online at a site for wannabe authors and engage in some witty banter, a little harmless flirtation - no big deal. It's innocent fun until one jokes that killing each other's partner would solve all their problems. Reminiscent of the premise behind Alfred Hitchcock's classic movie Strangers on a Train, Virtual Strangers goes its own way when both partners die in what seem to be freak accidents the same weekend. When evidence indicates both were murders Seabee and Annika each deny responsibility. But, if not them, who did it?

Virtual Strangers operates in two worlds, the real world and cyberspace. The real life murder-mystery portion of the book has plenty of unique twists; many of them work because of the uniqueness of the tie-in to cyberspace. The real world portion also has the stereotypical murder mystery device of strangers (okay, Virtual Strangers) stuck together in a big house trying to solve the murder. However, this has the variation that the murder(s) didn't happen in the house, instead they're together specifically to solve them.

However, what sets Virtual Strangers apart is how well O'Leary and Zaltin capture the dynamic of life in cyberspace and the potential for the two worlds to collide. Anyone who spends much time online should relate. How often have you seen someone on a forum behave in ways they never would face to face? Is a friend on Facebook who lives halfway across the world the same as your friend who lives next door and does it feel different? How much is real and how much is something else? When you think you're anonymous, are you?

This review is based on a pre-release copy obtained for free from the author.

**Originally written for "Books and Pals" book blog.**
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I really liked the first half of this book - Annika, living in France, is drawn into an online community for authors. Since she spends her days working and her nights caring for her obnoxious invalid husband, she's especially vulnerable to the attention and validation she receives on the website. She spends more and more time there and eventually forms a bond with Seebee, a charming, if sex-crazed, drunk. He's living in England and he has relationship problems of his own. The update of "Strangers on a Train" for the internet age was interesting and both characters were well-crafted, especially Annika. She kept making worse and worse decisions, but her personality and past made it all make sense.

Unfortunately, as the book progressed, it became more and more implausible. At this point, I will be discussing some specific details from the second half of the book. They aren't really spoilers, but you may not want to read if you're sensitive to things like that. It didn't ring true at all that all the main players from the web site - some of them middle-class Americans - were able to travel to England at the drop of a hat. Have the authors checked plane ticket prices recently? I understand it is a mystery classic to gather all the main players in one place (and what better place than an isolated English country house?), but if you choose a specific set-up for your novel, you can't just abandon it for the dénouement from an entirely different book.

I agree with another reviewer that the identity of the actual villain was telegraphed explicitly - this removed some of the pleasure from the book. I was also really taken aback by the way Sebastian, a gay character, was portrayed - it just seemed kind of hateful.
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Format: Kindle Edition
I love Scandinavian writing, it is usually deep, dark and compelling.

I downloaded this book after the author mentioned on a Discussion Group thread that her co-writer had written some of the Wallander episodes for TV. This Henning Mankell TV series is one of my favourites, especially the Swedish version. As a writer, Mankell is amongst the best. Maybe I expected too much.

The idea behind the book could have been fascinating. Many of us contribute to online threads, and the Discussion Groups on Amazon are very addictive. The story is written from two viewpoints, that of Annika and Seabee. Annika lives in Paris married to a Frenchman severely injured in an accident a couple of years ago. She does not show much sympathy for his plight, and he is undeniably difficult to live with. Seabee lives with Lies, a sexually demanding dominatrix-like woman, (apparently we should feel sorry for him because she does not cuddle him), and is tired of his relationship but doesn't want to be the first to move out of the apartment they share. But when Lies has one of his non-housetrained dogs put down when it defecates in her designer shoes, it is the last straw. Both Annika and Seabee are writers and they meet through an internet site and they joke about getting their partners killed as in 'Strangers on a Train'.

It starts well, but as the book proceeds, the characters really don't develop. Practically every waking thought of Seabee is associated with sex - if he had been a pubescent teenager it might have been believable, if rather boring. But we are supposed to think that he is an intelligent man, a writer and translator, Alpha male, maybe, but surely he should have a few other thoughts in his mind as well.
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