Author: Laura Sims
Publisher: Tinder Press
Synopsis: I’ve never crossed their little fenced-in garden, of course. I stand on the sidewalk in front of the fern-and-ivy-filled planter that hangs from the fence—placed there as a sort of screen, I’m sure—and have a direct line of view into the kitchen at night. I’m grateful they’ve never thought to install blinds. That’s how confident they are. No one would dare stand in front of our house and watch us, they think. And they’re probably right: except for me.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
Before I opened Looker by Laura Sims, I knew it would be a chilling read. The synopsis is minimal: it doesn’t give anything away about the plot, just reinforces the title that someone, somewhere, is being watched. It’s a short, snappy psychological thriller that draws you into a world of madness. It’s the type of book that stuck with me after I had finished it when you start to realise how clever the writing is.
Becoming more and more obsessed by the famous actress who lives on her street, our narrator starts losing control of her life: her husband leaves her after years of failing to conceive, her career is in jeopardy when she has an affair with a student and everyone really needs to stop judging her life!
This is not your average housewife going off the rails though. She is desperate to insert herself in the life of the actress, imagining the conversations they would have, the places the actress’ husband would sleep with her…
And it’s not just her obsession she starts to become deluded about. Unexplained things start happening. A filthy poem from her student-lover seems to be for her eyes only; until she can no longer find any trace of its existence. Her husband’s cat becomes hers; until she will do anything to make sure he doesn’t take it back.
She touches my arm lightly as she says it. This is more than I asked for, more than I ever dared to want: her touch!
This book is creepy. The writing is incredible powerful: you notice the entire way through that the actress is never given a name. Neither is her husband. But it was only on reflecting on the book I realised you never know the narrator’s name either. She is delusional, inserting herself into other people’s lives, fantasising, losing her grip on reality…and you never know her name. You never have that personal connection with her, which makes it easier to start to question exactly what is real.
There is quite strong sexual content at times: her fantasies with the husband, sleeping with the student and even masturbating on more than one occasion when something riles her up. It works though; between the stalker behaviour and her dangerous actions, this isn’t one to shy away from any topic and portrays this narrator as a desperate woman longing to belong – in a manner that goes way too far.
It’s hard to get a feel of time: I never got the sense of how much time passed in-between these interactions, especially when she is off daydreaming in-between. The narration skips all over the place at times. But the pacing is strong: short sections give it a rhythm that keeps you moving and reflects how she, too, is fractured, broken into different pieces.
I don’t know what I was expecting from this book. It doesn’t have much in terms of the plot and there is a strange distance between narrator and reader. It makes it a strong read though; you’re as distant from this woman’s life as she herself is.
If you’re after a quick but creepy read, definitely a recommendation!