Forward Slash, by Louise Voss and Mark Edwards

Five stars (of five)

Another stunning thriller sure to force people to think twice about internet dating. Amy is confused and concerned when her sister, Becky, emails her to announce plans for a trip, on a whim. Even more troubling is the message that follows, “don’t try to get in touch with me.” Amy worries that something has happened to Becky and begins talking to those closest to her. When Amy finds a fellow sleuth in Becky’s neighbour, Gary, she begins exploring the darker and more secretive side of Becky’s life, online dating. Spurned by an abusive boyfriend in the past, Amy is leery of dating at all, but sees that Becky has tossed herself into the middle of the dating world and pushed its limits to the more strings-free sites that offer easy hook-ups. Could Becky have fallen in with the wrong man, who’s killed her? When Amy begins getting messages from Becky, asking that she stop looking, the search kicks up another notch. Amy will stop at nothing to find her sister, even if it’s only to put her mind to rest. Once the police locate a body on a deserted piece of land, the case becomes more official, but that’s only the beginning of the sadistic crumbs on offer to the reader. Powerfully written and told from four narrative perspectives, the reader will be pulled deep into the world of the internet and social media, questioning just how safe the faceless dating world can be.

Voss and Edwards have some of their best work in this novel. The thrills never end and the psychological aspect ramps up with each passing chapter. While not using the novel to make a whole-hearted soapbox speech on internet dating, they do sell their point effectively, which is a throwback to parents’ warnings geared at their children; you never know who’s out there and if people are who they claim to be. The race to find the missing Becky does not let up, nor do the twists throughout. While I was perceptive enough to see some of the pitfalls, others left my jaw dangling as I tried to read ‘just a little more’. Anyone who begins this Voss/Edwards journey here will want more and is surely in for a treat. Settle in and prepare to be chilled…

Kudos, Madam Voss and Mr. Edwards for your recent addition to a powerful set of novels.