I was drawn to the first book in this series, You, because it was set in a bookshop. The literary references and bookish theme still continues in this latest book (third in the series) although now the story has moved to a library. The protagonist tells his story of obsession and control from his own perspective But that's not all.
There is the familiarity of the same story. There is a cage in the basement, a suspicious friend who likes to run in the forest, the protagonist getting into her flat and pretending to be her. So for a long while, there is nothing new and the story seems a little stagnant. The character, and especially his wit and self-delusion, is as entertaining as he ever was but a little stale. The whole thing feels as if the author is cashing in.
Despite these reservations, the central character is still a fascinating study into twenty-first century manipulation, especially using social media as it currently is, with themes like #metoo and toxic masculinity thrown in. The concept of love and loving, delusions and the chilling thought that we may be part of something like this make this a compulsive and disconcerting read. I really wanted to find out what becomes of this modern anti-hero. And that is why I read the whole book. It compelled me to. Great read if maybe a tad rehashed and a little too long, but quite a twist at the end.
Published by SImon & Schuster on 1 April 2021.
Advanced review copy supplied by the publisher.