The Follower – Koethi Zan
The Follower is a psychological crimi thriller about three people: Julie Brookman, a young student who got kidnapped by religious fanatic James; Cora, James’ wife who helps him take care of his kidnapped girls; and former cop Adam, investigating cases on his own.
The whole story is mainly about Cora and her unlucky childhood, abusive alcoholic father and, later on, about her manipulative friends. Cora and her father travelled a lot since she could remember and after every few months changed their identity and moved to another town. But in one of these towns Cora made new friends, thinking she can finally have a normal teenage life. We find out later that these friends were found murdered right before she left the town with her dad again. We read about her falling for cult leader James who brainwashed her (even though it wasn’t so hard due to her insecurities and unstable life) and they together started a new life as a cute cult-like couple who together kidnap young girls in order to bring child into their lovely psychotic family. Inspiring.
The last girl they kidnapped and kept captured in their house was Julie. Julie used to have perfect life, perfect grades and perfect boyfriend. Until she wakes up in a strange room, or, as they called it, a cell, and realizes her perfect life is over for good. She is being starved, beaten and worse for months, but still doesn’t lose the fire and fight in her. She was being reasonable and smart the entire time, which I always appreciate in characters. At first she believed she can befriend Cora and together they would set themselves free from Cora’s abusing husband James, but after a while she realized Cora is as bad as him.
The last character who we read about is Adam, ex-cop, who spent most of his career investigating missing girls because his sister went missing when she was 7. Because of his obsession he had to leave the police force and decided to investigate the missing cases on his own. Following the dream that he would solve some old case and be accepted back to police, he’s finding out about one of Cora´s identities and decides to find her a save her. His parts of book were a bit confusing, because we don´t really get to know how he figured out some facts about Cora and her father. Also he fucked up badly at the end by playing annoying hero, but it was just part of his character.
The book was easy to read, the story was moving forward in a very nice and creepy way, there were some obvious plot holes and badly described scenes, some cliché dialogues and unnecessary characters. But if we look above that, it’s an interesting story about brain washing and about the whole “how a victim becomes a villain” idea. Especially when we realize that both women were controlled by the cult leader and none of them was free. It wasn’t boring, the chapters were short and the story wasn’t dragged for too long but there was something missing, something that would make it into a really good book. Something that would make it more disturbing and yet more realistic.
I’m giving it 3/5 stars, it was a pleasant reading and it didn’t make me too angry.