“Top of the line thriller writing” (Jeffery Deaver): Jennifer Hillier’s fast-paced psychological suspense about a sexually addicted college professor terrorized by an ex lover.
IF HE CAN’T HAVE HER . . .
Dr. Sheila Tao is a professor of psychology, an expert in human behavior with her own hidden past. But she’s not the only one keeping secrets. . . . When Sheila began an affair with her sexy graduate assistant Ethan Wolfe, she knew she was playing with fire. Consumed by lust when they were together, she was riddled with guilt when they were apart. Now she’s finally engaged to a good man, and it’s time to end the dangerous liaison. But Ethan has something different in mind. He intends to make her pay for rejecting him.
. . . NO ONE CAN.
As Sheila attempts to counter Ethan’s increasingly threatening moves, he schemes to reveal her darkest, most intimate secrets by destroying her prestigious career . . . and then her. Caught in a terrifying cat-and-mouse game, Sheila must fight for her life and free herself from the ex-lover whom she couldn’t resist—who is now the manipulative monster who won’t let her go.
Pulsing with the dark obsession of Radiohead’s song “Creep,” this “truly frightening” (Suspense Magazine) debut thriller rockets to a heart-pounding climax.
About the Author
Jennifer Hillier is the author of Wonderland, Creep, Freak, and The Butcher. Born and raised in Toronto, Canada, she lives in the Seattle area with her husband and son. Visit her on the web at JenniferHillier.ca.
Read an Excerpt
CHAPTER : 1
T hree months. That’s how long Dr. Sheila Tao had been sleeping with Ethan Wolfe. Three months, four days, and approximately six hours.
The problem wasn’t the sixteen-year age difference. It wasn’t even that she was his professor and he was her teaching assistant. The problem was that Sheila was engaged to Morris, and now the affair with Ethan had to stop. No more weekly “meetings” at the Ivy, the motel just off campus that rented rooms by the hour. No more sneaking around. No more lying. No more falling into that chasm of depression that consumed her for days after each of their trysts.
It had to end. All of it. Sheila and her therapist had been working hard on this. Yes, even psychologists had psychologists.
It wouldn’t be easy. Ethan was good-looking and prone to getting his way. Hell, he had seduced her, though Sheila suspected not even her therapist believed that.
They were in her bright corner office on the fourth floor of the psychology building at Puget Sound State University. He was relaxed, casual, his jean-clad legs spread open in that cocky way he liked to sit. The desk between them was strewn with papers, an organized clutter that served as a makeshift barrier.
Observing him, she watched his full lips form words she only half-heard. There was nothing vague about Ethan’s attractiveness, but he downplayed it by wearing ratty vintage T-shirts, worn jeans, tennis shoes. His hard, flat stomach wasn’t evident through the loose-fitting shirt, but Sheila could damn well picture it.
She had no idea how he was going react to her news. She’d known him long enough to understand his propensity for structure, and she was about to upset the routine they’d established over the past three months.
Of her five teaching assistants, Ethan was the brightest and most ambitious. His intelligence and drive had been a big part of his appeal. They were discussing grades for her popular summer-session undergraduate social psychology class, and so far neither of them had commented as to why they were meeting here this morning, in her office, instead of room sixteen at the Ivy Motel. She knew he had to be thinking about it, because she was thinking about it, too.
She forced herself to focus on what he was saying.
“Danny Ambrose doesn’t deserve a B,” he said, fingers resting lightly on the arms of his chair. He never talked with his hands, even when he was passionate about something. “The similarities he drew between Milgram’s experiment and the Nazis? Too obvious.”
His brows were furrowed. Sheila was about to overrule the grade Ethan had assigned to one of her undergraduate students, and he didn’t like it. He wasn’t used to it. They didn’t disagree often.
“He loses points for originality, but don’t you think his argument is solid?” Sheila smiled to soften her words. “This is only a sophomore class. He did what was asked of him and it was better than average. I spoke to Danny personally the other day. He risks losing his scholarship if we give him that C. He’s a good kid. I’d really hate to see that happen.”
She could almost hear the wheels in Ethan’s mind turning as he thought of a counterargument. Most of the time she encouraged healthy debate, but she wasn’t in the mood this morning. There was a conversation they needed to have, and she was having a hard time steering them in that direction.
She waited, saying nothing. If she didn’t push it, he’d come around. The key was to let him work through it on his own.
“Okay,” Ethan said finally. “You win, Sheila. Danny gets a B. Lucky bastard. God, I hate it when you assert your authority over me.” Lowering his voice, he glanced over his shoulder at the open door behind him. “You’ll have to make it up to me later.” He leaned forward and ran a finger down the back of her left hand, lips curled into the half-smile she liked so much.
His finger brushed over the band of her new diamond ring, turned inside out so the stone was tucked into her palm. His gaze dropped down to her hand.
She was surprised it had taken him this long to notice. Here we go.
Her first instinct was to yank her hand away, but that would only make things worse. Willing herself to appear relaxed, she twisted the platinum band around. Ethan’s eyes widened at the sight of the four-carat diamond.
“What’s this?” The lightness of his tone did not match his face. A flush emerged just above the neckline of his T-shirt. He touched a finger to the top of the stone, leaving a smudge.
She resisted the urge to wipe it off. The face of a diamond this size was like glass. Morris was a senior partner at Bindle Brothers, the largest investment bank in the Northwest, and he hadn’t held back.
She withdrew her hand. “Could you close the door?” she asked. “Just for a few minutes. There’s something we need to discuss.”
Ethan stiffened, as Sheila knew he would. He was fine in a lecture hall, but they both knew he didn’t like closed doors in small spaces. Something to do with his childhood and getting locked in a closet for hours—she didn’t really know, he’d always been vague. In their tiny motel room, the windows always had to be open, even if it was raining.
“Please?” she said. “Just for a bit so we can talk in private. I’ll open the window.”
He closed her office door reluctantly while she cranked open the casement behind her. A blast of August warmth entered the air-conditioned room. Ethan waited in silence, his expression betraying nothing.
There was no way around it except to be direct. “Morris and I are getting married.”
Ethan leaned back in his chair and stared at her with unreadable light gray eyes. Again, she waited. The thrum of the air conditioner reverberated in the room.
“When did this happen?”
“Saturday.” Five nights ago.
He looked around the office. He wasn’t one to avoid eye contact, so she guessed he was digesting this information. His gaze focused briefly on a small, framed picture of Sheila and Morris on the window ledge before returning to her face. “Well, this is big news. But it doesn’t change anything between you and me.”
“It changes everything.” The words were out before she could consider their impact. Biting her lip, she forged ahead anyway. “I can’t be involved with you anymore outside of class.”
He didn’t blink. “Just like that?”
He exhaled and she caught a whiff of the cinnamon gum he’d been chewing earlier. He always chewed cinnamon gum, and if she closed her eyes, she could almost taste it, could almost feel his sweet, spicy tongue in her mouth—
“Congratulations.” The smile didn’t quite touch his eyes.
“Thank you,” she said.
“When’s the wedding?”
His smile turned into a grin she couldn’t read. It wasn’t amusement, or annoyance, or even a desire to please; it was something else entirely.
“So soon. Why the rush?”
She had prepared for this question, rehearsing the answer in her head during the drive to work that morning, and it rolled off her tongue. “I’m thirty-nine and I’m not getting any younger. I’m tired of living alone, Ethan. I love Morris. We want to start our life together. We—there might still be time for kids.”
“What should I wear to the wedding?”
Shocked, she opened her mouth, but no words came out.
“I’m kidding,” he said, his eyes finally showing a hint of amusement. “Joke, Sheila. I wouldn’t come even if I was invited. Isn’t there a rule about going to the weddings of people you used to fuck?”
She winced. She had no problem with cursing, but here, in this moment, it sounded unreasonably harsh.
“Ah, well. It’s better that it’s over anyway.” He ran a hand through his short, mussed hair. “It really should have ended ages ago, now that I think about it. Remember when your father died? How messed up you were?”
Her stomach lurched. “Of course I remember.” It had only been three months since her estranged father had passed away from liver cancer. Three days before the affair had started. She knew it had been the trigger.
His voice became low, accusing. “I never wanted this to be a long-term thing. But you were so goddamned needy. You kept telling me not to go.”
It was a subtle but unmistakable slap in the face. Please don’t go. Oh, yes, those had been her words exactly, words she’d whispered to Ethan the morning after her father’s funeral while lying next to him naked under the scratchy motel bedsheets. It hurt to think he could bring it up now as if they were talking about the weather.
“The timing was bad,” he said with a shrug. “I couldn’t do it to you. But really, it should have ended right after it started.”
“You said that already.”
“Are you mad?” His face was open, interested. “Don’t be mad, Sheila. I don’t regret that it lasted as long as it did. But all good things must come to an end. This won’t change anything professional between us. We still work really well together.”
He sat back with a Cheshire-cat smile.
She was suddenly infuriated. Exactly who was dumping whom here? She had agonized over this conversation for days, wondering what to say to him and how to say it, alternating between supreme bliss at her new engagement and pangs of regret over the affair, worried about hurting Morris, hurting Ethan, hurting herself. Nothing about this had been simple. Nothing.
But here he was, easy like Sunday morning, his handsome face a mixture of pity and regret.
She arranged the papers on the desk into neat stacks to keep her hands from trembling, thinking hard about what she wanted to say next.
“All right, about that.” Sheila’s words were tight as she forced herself to stay calm. “I don’t think we should continue to work together. I’m going to recommend you work with Dr. Easton from now on.”
This caught him off guard. “You’re not fucking serious?”
“I am.” She smiled, pleased at his reaction, then made a grand show of wiping her brow. “You know what, I need to close the window. It’s really hot in here and the air-conditioning’s escaping. You know how I get when it’s stuffy.”
“Sheila, don’t close—”
She stood up quickly and cranked and latched the window. By the time she turned back to Ethan, his body had gone rigid. She sat down again and crossed her legs, not bothering to hide her own little smile.
“I promise you it’ll be an easy transition. Dr. Easton was impressed with the work you did in his advanced personality theory class last term. His expertise on deviant behavior can only help your thesis.” Sheila’s smile widened. “Don’t worry, the department won’t have a problem with the switch. You can stay until the end of next term as my TA, but after Christmas—”
“I don’t want to switch,” he said. Beads of sweat appeared at his hairline even though the room was cooling. “I have less than a year to go. I don’t want to work through the kinks of a new adviser.”
“I’ll do everything I can to help.”
They sat staring at each other. It was awkward waiting out the silence, but she knew whoever spoke first would lose.
“You’re trying to get rid of me,” Ethan hissed. Circular sweat stains had formed at his armpits, soaking through the cloth of his gray T-shirt. “Well, guess what, I’m not switching. I’ve been working with you for going on three terms now. You’re not passing me off to someone else because you’re getting married and don’t want a reminder you fucked the help. My thesis is nearly done.” He was breathing hard. Perspiration trailed down his left temple.
She had about thirty seconds before he’d totally lose it; claustrophobia could be debilitating. “And I promise you nothing will change,” she said again. “Dr. Easton’s always admired you and—”
“Dr. Easton’s a fucking fag!” Ethan slammed his hands down on the desk and the stack of term papers fell over. At that moment the air conditioner paused and the room was suddenly quiet. Pointing a finger at her, he stood up. “I am not working with him. You are going to finish what you started with me.”
Sheila did her best to appear impassive. “You don’t have a choice. I can reassign you anytime I like, for any reason.”
“Really? And what would the dean say about that?” Ethan was towering over her desk. Little drops of sweat hit the term papers, blurring the ink into shapeless forms.
“Dean Simmons will back me up, of course,” she said, looking up at him.
“Even after he sees you on the Internet taking it up the ass?”
“What? What are you—” She stopped. Her throat went dry and she swallowed. Her heart started thumping in her chest so hard she thought she could feel her silk blouse moving. “You deleted that off your phone. I watched you do it.”
“Are you sure about that?” His eyes were flat, devoid of emotion. He was still sweating but his voice was once again controlled. “I didn’t e-mail it to myself first? You’re absolutely sure?”
Her temple began to throb. The fluorescent lights overhead were suddenly too bright, the walls too yellow, the air conditioner too loud. Her armpits tingled and she could smell onions. Ethan’s body odor. Or was it her own?
“You wouldn’t dare,” she whispered.
“Wouldn’t I?” He grinned triumphantly as he wiped his sweaty brow with his hand. Turning away from her, he finally yanked open the office door and stepped out, taking deep breaths of the semi-stale hallway air.
Sheila sat, dazed. There was a 99 percent chance he was bluffing—her gut told her there was no video anymore, he wouldn’t have had time to send it somewhere else from his phone before she’d made him delete it—but goddamn it, it wasn’t good enough. If anything like it ever showed up on CampusAnonymous.com, a website notorious for outrageous gossip and nasty comments about all things involving the university, she’d be ruined. The video would go viral before she could blink twice, and two decades of hard work would be snuffed out like a campfire in a thunderstorm.
Having an affair with a student was one thing. It happened all the time—she could think of three professors who’d been involved with students in the past, who’d gotten nothing more than slaps on the wrist. And Ethan was twenty-three and neither of them were married, which counted for something.
But a video? It wouldn’t matter whom she was screwing—a video of her writhing naked on the Internet would get her fired. No hearing, no chance to defend herself, just an hour to collect her personal belongings and she’d be out the door on her ass. Do not pass Go, do not collect two hundred.
How could I have been so fucking stupid?
A voice broke into her thoughts, and she looked up. Valerie Kim, one of Sheila’s other TAs, stood in the doorway just behind Ethan.
“One sec, Val,” Ethan said to the petite young woman. His tone betrayed no hint of the tension that filled the office. “The professor and I are almost done here.”
“That’s cool.” Valerie looked past Ethan into the office at Sheila. “I can come back in five.”
“No need.” Sheila’s smile felt clownish. “Come in, Valerie.”
Ethan stepped back into the office and made a show of bundling up the scattered term papers on the desk. Slinging his worn leather bag crosswise over his torso, he grinned at Sheila. “Dr. Tao, I’ll see you next week. Thanks for your time.”
“Sure,” Sheila said. Her shoulders slumped and her back ached.
Ethan winked at Valerie as he left the office. “She’s all yours.”
She heard him whistling as he ambled down the hallway, not a care in the world, and her mind reeled. What the fuck had just happened?
“So, Professor Tao, did you hear?” Valerie’s voice was breathy. The ponytailed teaching assistant plopped into the chair across from Sheila and rummaged in her bag for her own stack of papers to be reviewed. “Diana St. Clair’s body was found this morning.”
“Hmmm?” Sheila could not process what the graduate student was saying. Somehow, she had completely underestimated Ethan Wolfe. He had outsmarted her, and how was that possible? Damn him. Damn her. This was a disaster. Could he really still have that video? He’d made it several weeks ago, and maybe her memory was foggy, but she was certain she’d seen him delete it right afterward, could remember her relief when she saw it was gone . . .
“The swimmer? Diana St. Clair?” Valerie was saying.
“Yes, of course I know she disappeared,” Sheila said, irritated. A drop of Ethan’s sweat remained on the desk and she swiped at it. She forced herself to focus on Valerie’s pretty face. “What’s the update?”
“I don’t know all the details yet.” The grad student sounded appropriately somber, though her eyes were alight with morbid excitement. “She was found floating in Puget Sound early this morning. A ferry rider spotted her.”
“She drowned?” Sheila’s hand flew to her mouth. Valerie had her full attention now. “How is that even possible?”
Everyone was familiar with the story. It had been all over the news. Diana St. Clair was the pride and joy of PSSU, a champion Division I swimmer and Olympic hopeful. She’d gone missing after swim practice over a week before, and it was all anyone on campus could talk about. There’d been multiple theories about her disappearance: she’d eloped to Brazil with a guy she’d met online; she’d quit swimming but didn’t have the heart to tell her parents; she was pregnant and hiding it from her sponsors . . .
“She didn’t drown, that isn’t how she died. I heard she was stabbed first.” Valerie paused for dramatic effect. “Multiple times.”
Sheila sat up straight. “Holy shit!”
Valerie looked pleased to hear her professor swear. “I heard they’re going to be putting new security measures in place because of this.” Clearly Valerie had heard a lot. “My boyfriend works part-time in the communications department. They’re sending out a bulletin later today.”
“Holy shit.” Sheila felt disoriented as she tried to process the news.
Diana St. Clair had been her student. Sheila had never known someone who was murdered.
© 2011 Jennifer Hillier
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
CREEP is a debut novel in the same vein as stories like Fatal Attraction. Person cheats on significant other. Person regrets it and calls it off. Person gains crazy stalker. Dr. Sheila Tao has been cheating on her boyfriend with a student, the young and charming Ethan. But when her boyfriend proposes, she calls everything off, determined to start anew with her loving fiance. But Ethan doesn't want to let her go. He threatens to release evidence of their affair. To ruin her career and her life. What's worse is, there's a killer on campus who has already killed one student. . .and Tao has the sneaking suspicion it might just be her ex-lover. I'll admit, when I first read the synopsis for CREEP by Jennifer Hillier, I wasn't exactly enthusiastic. But I'd been browsing Books-a-Million for two hours or so for a new book to no avail. So I sat down and read the first few pages. Which was all it took. Regardless of what you think about the plotline, Hillier's talent for writing is undeniable. One of the best I've read in some time. I was so impressed that, for that reason alone, I bought the book. I wasn't dissapointed. The story, which at first seems cliche, turns out to be a lot more unconventional than one might expect. More impressive is that the protagonist, Shiela, a 39 year old psychology professer and sex-addict, is surprisingly likable despite all her terrible transgressions. Maybe it's because her stalker -- the creep, in CREEP -- makes her mistakes seem like spilled milk. Highly reccommend for thriller fans. But be warned, it isn't for the faint of heart. Some strong sexual content (sex addiction, people!), and plenty of disturbing scenes. Darkly humorous and intensely disturbing, CREEP is a fantastic debut. Jennifer Hillier is a novelist to look out for.
Dr. Sheila Tao is a recovering sex addict, but after the death of her father she suffered a relapse and had a torrid affair with her teaching assistant/ student Ethan Wolfe, but decides to break it off because she is getting married in a few weeks to the love of her life Morris Gardener, but Ethan doesn't handle the breakup well, and threatens to share a sex video of the couple together. Sheila realizes that Ethan could cost her everything if that video gets out but soon tires of Ethan's taunts and decides to push back. This enrages Ethan and he decides that if he can't have Sheila then no one can, and decides that he must kill her. This book is a thriller in the true sense of the word. The plot draws you in from the first pages and the characters are easy to care about. Sheila is someone who is trying to get her life together, and hopes for a future with Morris, someone whom she sincerely loves. She made the mistake of having an affair with Ethan, but she had no idea just what sort of person he really was until she tried to break it off. Morris is a character that has issues of his own, he is a recovering alcoholic whose life was derailing until Sheila came along. Ethan's character comes off as weird in the beginning but slowly escalates into someone who was totally off the wall weird. The author did a fantastic job of leading me along making me think I had things figured out then she throws in an amazing twist that totally blew me away. The ending left me wondering if there might be a sequel. A great read for anyone who enjoys fast paced thrillers with an exciting, totally believable plot.
I could not put this book down. It was one of the best books I have ever read this year. LOVED IT. Jennifer Hillier is an excellent writer. Spine tingling novel.
A new and fresh perspective with hints of the suspense styles of Patterson and Deaver. I WILL be reading this authors next book. . . With out a doubt. Supurb story, characters, and voice.
I thought when I choose this book to read, that it would be you usual stalker story, but it so much more. Dr. Sheila Tao is about the get married, but first she has to break off the affair that she is having with her TA/student, Ethan. But Ethan doesn't want it to end and makes it know that he will tell her fiancé. But Sheila has another problem, she has an addiction that her fiancé, Morris knows nothing about and when he discovers her problem, they fight, she leaves and disappears. Did Morris kill her or did Ethan do something? Jennifer Hillier's story is like an onion; the reader peels off layer after layer and discovers something new. I like that because it had me wondering and guessing, although some things I figured out, but was still left with a lot of surprises. Creep is a very creepy thriller!
So creepy i could not put it down! Highly recomended!
It's been a while since I have given a five-star review. This book was that good. Brilliantly written. I cannot believe I just found this author now. I will definitely be getting the next book! Warning -- this book has an ending that leaves a few questions open, and you will definitely be looking for the next when you finish. Not a brutal cliffhanger, but you will want to see where the author takes the story next. This is NOT a read for the youngsters or the faint of heart. Deals with stalking, rape, sexual addictions, and murder. I am off now to get some much needed sleep. Will be purchasing and starting Freak tomorrow and have a feeling it will be a nail-biter also! Thank you Ms. Hilllier for a fantastically "creepy" read! Can't wait to see where you take us next! :-) -- SPeeD
The story runs at a steady pace; it is interesting and action packed. But there are far too many ties left undone at the end, and the ending flat out sucks! There are weird editing issues too. For example, in the first two chapters the main character is blonde, then halfway through the book she becomes a dark brunette! There was so much promise within this story premise, but it is lacking continuity and resolution. In the end- I'd devote 297 pages of reading to something else...something a little more worth your time!
Excellent book! I have very little time to read for pleasure but I made time to read this book! I am looking forward to reading Freak.
Creep - Stunning Debut For a more in depth review, please visit my blog, Chroley Chronicals! Wow! What a debut novel from Jennifer Hillier! If this book is any indication of her work to come, this lady will have an amazing career as an author of suspense and psychological novels! I was amazed at her writing abilities, especially as a newbie. She writes like a pro, as if this is her twentieth novel, not her first! I can't wait to see what else she has in store for us! The title of the book is absolutely the most fitting of any title I've ever read! Everything about this book was creepy, from the characters, down to the plot! The characters in this book were such a diverse group, but enjoyable to read about throughout the book. I can't think of any other book with characters like these, and I enjoyed that! I am one to always root for the good guys and the happy ending, so I must say that I was rooting for Sheila and Morris from the get-go! Ethan creeped me out from the first moment I met him, and I enjoyed Jerry later on in the book! The plot was so thick and full of details, with many different unpredictable twists and turns! I had determined early on that I knew who the killer was and that Hillier was just trying to show the reader's what went through a killer's mind, but BOY WAS I WRONG! It was one of those, I knew what it was until it slapped me in the face, and it left me standing there, with a big red hand-print on my cheek, stinging, going WHOA!!! I totally DID NOT see that happening! What a thrilling read!! The second half of this book was a total rumdinger, as it kept me on the edge of my seat, dying to know what happens next! I went to reading two to three chapters a day, to reading the whole second half of the book in a matter of 24 hours! I COULD NOT PUT THE BOOK DOWN! When I first began reading Creep, I wasn't aware that Hillier had written another book, so I was a little taken aback by the ending, thinking what they heck? Either she left it wide open for another book, or that the readers are just going to be out in left field forever. When pulling up the title to do this review, I found that Hillier wrote a book that takes place after Creep, which is Freak and I can certainly assure you that I will be running out to get my hands on a copy of it as soon as I possibly can! I HAVE to continue with this author and find out what other great reads she has in store for me! Overall, I LOVED this book! I was thrilled with the writing, the story, the characters, the suspense...everything about it! I am STUNNED that this is a debut novel, because it is expertly written, like that of a professional. I would compare this work to that of suspense greats, Lisa Gardner and Chelsea Cain! This girl has got the talent, and I can't wait get my fill of more!!
I thoroughly enjoyed this book!
Great book author has a bright future ahead and canr wait to hear about Dr Tao and Abbeu
My mom lent me her copy of this book and I read it in a day and half! Moves so fast you feel like you're not breathing. Great debut novel, more character-rich than most thrillers. Excellent twist at the end. I sort of had a feeling about it maybe halfway through, but it still shocked me!
Puget Sound University's Professor of Psychology Sheila Tao and her teaching assistant Ethan Wolfe are having an affair although she is to soon marry Texas financier Morris Gardener. Sheila needs to end the tryst immediately, but struggles to do so not because of some love for her TA. Instead she belongs to Sex Addicts Anonymous; something her fiancé and her lover fail to know. Ethan manipulates the human behavior expert by playing on her lust when they are alone and on her guilt when they not. The pair has been together for three months, but time has run out for Sheila. She abruptly vanishes without a trace and her suspicious fiancé fails to gain any help from the Seattle police even though he fears foul play occurred. The affluent Texan hires a private eye whose investigation uncovers the ugly side of Sheila who finds she cannot let go of Ethan by just saying goodbye. Creep is a fascinating yet terrifying psychological thriller mindful of the movie Fatal Attraction. Ironically none of the lead triangle comes across as nice though readers will empathize with the professor's addiction, which is deftly handled to provide insight to the condition while being the enabler to set the dysfunctional relationships. Although too much happenstance occurs, sub-genre fans will appreciate the taut tale wondering who amongst the Professor, the Financier and the Creep will be left standing. Harriet Klausner
This really isn't my cup of tea, but I'll try anything once, so when a colleague at work suggested I read it I gave it a go. The first 20 pages were arduous - very American style of writing, not requiring much thinking. I didn't hold high hopes. But I got absorbed within the action-packed nature of this book. The characters are compelling, as is the storyline, though I found the twist at the end disappointing. A great light read, ideal for holidays or easy evening reading, with a satisfying story and sympathetic characters.
An incredibly exciting read. The first few pages will draw the reader into the novel and create the atmosphere that is perfect for a horror novel. Sheila and Ethan were lovers that should never have been. Sheila attempts to break off the affair, setting Ethan into an obsessive spiral where he just can't seem to let go. Sheila works to keep her fiance in the dark about her affair and Ethan's obsession. The reader will enjoy the dynamics between this awkward threesome; emotions run high, the fear Sheila feels will be tangible to the reader. The events of the novel are fast-paced, the reader will not be bored. The author skillfully creates the character of Sheila so that the reader ends up being on her side for the majority of the novel, a rare feat when the main character has an affair on the side. This novel was interesting and will keep the reader on the edge of his/her seat. Recommended for adults who enjoy the horror and mystery genres.
Dr. Sheila Tao is a recovering sex addict, but after the death of her father she suffered a relapse and had a torrid affair with her teaching assistant/ student Ethan Wolfe, but decides to break it off because she is getting married in a few weeks to the love of her life Morris Gardener, but Ethan doesn't handle the breakup well, and threatens to share a sex video of the couple together. Sheila realizes that Ethan could cost her everything if that video gets out but soon tires of Ethan's taunts and decides to push back. This enrages Ethan and he decides that if he can't have Sheila then no one can, and decides that he must kill her.This book is a thriller in the true sense of the word. The plot draws you in from the first pages and the characters are easy to care about. Sheila is someone who is trying to get her life together, and hopes for a future with Morris, someone whom she sincerely loves. She made the mistake of having an affair with Ethan, but she had no idea just what sort of person he really was until she tried to break it off. Morris is a character that has issues of his own, he is a recovering alcoholic whose life was derailing until Sheila came along. Ethan's character comes off as weird in the beginning but slowly escalates into someone who was totally off the wall weird. The author did a fantastic job of leading me along making me think I had things figured out then she throws in an amazing twist that totally blew me away. The ending left me wondering if there might be a sequel. A great read for anyone who enjoys fast paced thrillers with an exciting, totally believable plot.
This book is chilling because this is something that can really happen to anyone. The writing was outstanding and the book just flowed along. It was so readable and it is a first novel for this author. It even had a twist that I didn't see coming and that it pretty unusaul after all the mysteries I read. Looking for to Hillier's next book.
What can I say about Creep? It is a edge-of-your-seat psychological thriller. It makes you think how well do you really know someone? Appearances can definitely be deceiving. Sheila is a flawed, broken character, one the reader wants to see have a happy ending. The demons she's fighting are intense and it's uncertain if she'll win the battle.Ethan is a sick, twisted, perverted antagonist whom, at first sight, appears to be charming, gorgeous and smart. He wants Sheila and becomes obsessed with her when she ends their affair. Hillier did a fantastic job allowing the reader to get inside his mind. What I loved most about Creep was it read like a movie. I vividly pictured each scene in my mind and found myself reading faster to see what would happen next. When I put the book down, I couldn't stop thinking about it and wanted to pick it up once more just so I read one more chapter. As I got closer and closer to the last pages, I couldn't figure out how it would end. One significant sentence (a clue regarding one of the characters) stayed with me and I wondered how the author would tie it in with the ending. That sentence and the twist paved the way to a gripping conclusion. I cannot wait to get my hands on Hillier's follow-up thriller Freak, to be released this summer.
Jennifer Hillier¿s CREEP is a chilling must-read.Dr. Sheila Tao made a huge mistake when she had an affair with her grad student Ethan Wolfe. Now she is breaking off the affair for her engagement with an investment banker. As the wedding date grows closer, Ethan¿s plans development into a horrifying twist that might not only ruin Sheila¿s career and engagement but also her life.CREEP may be Hillier¿s debut novel, but she mastered the art of the thriller. The scenes are so realistic and don¿t gloss over any facts. The flawed characters push the plot forward. Everyone has secrets and faults, and Hillier creates wonderful shades of gray. The sprinkling of bread-crumb clues still leave the reader guessing up to the surprising conclusion. The pace is action-packed with never a dull moment. A word of advice though: don¿t start this book unless you plan to keep reading until the last page. CREEP sticks with you, will follow you around, and just might kidnap your dreams. I loved it!If you are a fan of Chelsea Cain¿s Beauty Killer series like I am, then you¿ll love Jennifer Hillier¿s CREEP. I¿m on the edge of my seat waiting for book two.
Very entejrtaining. Characters are interesting. I wii l
I just discovered this writer, Jennifer Hillier, and her novel Creep. I am very happy that I did! Good suspense, different kind of story and wonderfully written. I will be reading Freak next and then on to whatever else she has written. There is no better tonic for me than a newly discovered author.
My gosh! I read this one, in one day! I am so happy, to have found this excellent thriller writer! If you want to spend your hard earned money, on a fantastic ride, you must read Jennifer Hillier! Lots of twists and awesome turns! I am going to read Freak next! Oh yes! Be sure to read The Butcher, too! Wow!
Freak and creep had me on the edge of my seat a must read!