Top critical review
A strange tale of amiable stalkers
on 13 October 2015
One day, Tom, a radio presenter, returns home and finds a strange note left by his girlfriend. She says that she has gone, but that she hasn't left him. What could she mean? Tom tries to piece together what has happened, hoping to work out where she has gone and if she will come back.
It's a strange book really. The first section is intriguing and actually quite dark, as we see how Hayley's disappearance affects Tom. He tries to work out what has happened, contacting Hayley's friends and colleagues, and there's a slightly sinister undercurrent to it all as we find that several people knew she was going away (she even had a leaving party at work, unknown to Tom) and further clues lead Tom to contact individuals who were clearly involved in some way, but they're unwilling to give any information.
Suddenly though the tone changes, and in some ways it felt as though Danny Wallace lost the confidence to continue in this direction. The second half of the book has a huge tonal shift, and it actually feels a bit like Wallace has tried to write a lighthearted book about stalking! As another reviewer mentioned, possibly Wallace had planned to write one of his non-fiction "Join Me"-type books about following people around before realising it's a bit of a creepy concept, then decided to turn it into a novel. Sure, in fiction form it's a strangely enjoyable read, but it felt disjointed compared to the first part of the book, rather silly (a secretive group of wannabe stalkers who call themselves "CC" and meet in a Holiday Inn - really?) and not as satisfying. By the end everything is neatly tied up, and there's a rather slushy ending, but although it's perfectly enjoyable the book could have been so much better.