Friend Me: A Novel of Suspense

Friend Me: A Novel of Suspense

by John Faubion
4.5 11

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Overview

Friend Me: A Novel of Suspense by John Faubion

When a lonely wife and her frustrated husband each secretly pursue companionship online, neither dreams that a real woman is behind their virtual creations, threatening their marriage—and their lives.

“You’re afraid you are becoming unfaithful, aren’t you?”

Scott and Rachel’s marriage is on the brink of disaster. Scott, a businessman with a high-pressure job, just wants Rachel to understand him and accept his flaws. Rachel is a lonely housewife, desperate for attention and friendship. So she decides to create a virtual friend online, unaware that Scott is doing the exact same thing. But neither realizes that there’s a much larger problem looming. . . .

Behind both of their online creations is Melissa, a woman who is brilliant— and totally insane. Masquerading as both friend and lover, Melissa programmed a search parameter into the Virtual Friend Me software to find her perfect man, but along the way she forgot to specify his marriage status. And Scott is her ideal match. Now Melissa is determined to have it all—Scott, his family, and Rachel’s life.

As Melissa grows bolder and her online manipulations transition into the real world, Scott and Rachel figure out they are being played. Now it’s a race against time as Scott and Rachel fight to save their marriage, and their lives, before it’s too late.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781476738727
Publisher: Howard Books
Publication date: 02/04/2014
Pages: 368
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

John Faubion has spent many years in Asia as a missionary with his family. Since returning to the United States, John has worked as a senior software developer for a large appliance chain. He teaches an adult Sunday school class and enjoys writing and driving his 1949 Packard automobile. John lives near Indianapolis with his wife, Beth, and their daughter.

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Friend Me: A Novel of Suspense 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 11 reviews.
libraryboy More than 1 year ago
With the growth of the internet and all of the social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, I guess it is only a matter a time before an actual site like the one mentioned in this book comes to fruition.  It is with that thought in mind, that I couldn’t wait to dive into this book. Scott and Rachel have hit a rut in their marriage.  Rachel spends her day caring for their child and Scott spends his day at work supporting his family.  Both of them feel they are  doing exactly what they are supposed to be doing to make their marriage work, but they are both falling  short of a fulfilling marriage.  Rachel finds a website that offers to “recreate” lost ones from the past and  she sets out to “recreate” her friend Suzanne.  As she builds her best friend, the realism intrigues Scott.  Scott, though, creates someone to listen to him, a female companion.  After Scott starts building his  friend, parameters within the software alert the programmer that her “dream guy” is looking for someone.  As she begins to sculpt herself into Scott’s virtual friend, the drama begins to spiral out of control.  Is Rachel’s virtual friend real?  Does Scott cross the line with his virtual friend?  Can their real marriage  survive what’s happening in the virtual world?  Find out the answer to these great questions when you  BUY THE BOOK! This is the first book by John Faubion and definitely looks like it won’t be his last.  The tension and stress  that he writes into his characters are so real allowing the reader the chance to “see” themselves or loved  ones that they know in those roles.    He has created some memorable characters in Rachel and Scott.  Not because of some outlandish lifestyle, but because they came across as real people just like the rest of us.  The storyline flowed smoothly and while the author may have taken some creative freedom  when it came to describing the technology behind the “friends”, I don’t think that the reality isn’t too far behind. Is this a “Guy’s Book”?  This is a great book and should be read by anybody, man or woman.  This will  hopefully open up some eyes to those that say, “it isn’t real, so who’s it really hurting?”
iblog4books More than 1 year ago
Scott and Rachel each turn to virtual friends when life starts getting complicated. As they each share more and more of themselves with their new friends, they grow more distant from each other. When things take a really strange—and scary!—twist, they realize that they still desperately need each other. But will they be able to overcome the hurts of the past months in time to figure out what in the world is going on? John Faubion's debut novel, Friend Me, is an intense and thrilling read. The plot seemed far-fetched, futuristic at first. But as I kept reading, I realized that people are turning to online relationships every day, so the abuses explored in this book are totally possible—and even probable. (Although the whole "virtual" bit doesn't exist quite like this right now.) I was drawn in and could not stop reading. I seriously read this book in a day-and-a-half! My only complaint was that the book wrapped up too quickly. I wanted just a little more explanation of the ending (total shocker!) ... and maybe a few more pages in the epilogue. Also, due to the topics addressed and some of the ways that Scott and his virtual friend are involved, I would recommend this book for mature readers. The author does a great job of exploring the idea of an intimate, online relationship (outside of marriage) without going too far, but it's definitely what I would consider "edgy." Friend Me is a wonderful book, and I strongly encourage you to pick up a copy today! But ... fair warning ... I wouldn't read this one at bedtime. :) [4.5 stars] I received a free copy of this book from Howard Books in exchange for my fair and honest review.
Heart2Heart More than 1 year ago
.If there was a way to recreate someone you had lost due to an unexpected death with the only exception being that they were not physically real, meaning you couldn't go see them, but in every other aspect they were as real as you and I, would you be interested? What about having the perfect wife or husband? One you could create from scratch and be everything you ever wanted, a great listener, a romantic at heart, or someone who simply gave you everything you needed to hear and kept all your secrets? Perhaps a best friend you could confide in, but one that would only be there for you anytime you needed them? A sister or brother you always wanted but never had? Would you be interested? Consider that such a reality could literally be just months away from being a reality. Just as convenient as Facebook is to your need to touch base with people, now you could create that virtual person who would act, sound and look like a real person. You might just want to visit the latest website known simply as Virtual Friend Me, an excited new social media site that offers something more than Facebook or My Life could ever dream of, and it's all Free. Of course if you want a more personalized friend whom you can "see" you might want to sign up for the Premium Plan for only $15.00 a month. It guarantees your "friend" will be there whenever you want, simply a mouse click away. Now you've gotten a taste for the latest suspense thriller from author John Faubion who has created a concept that is chilling you can envision something like this truly on our horizon in the not so distant future. Now that Rachel Douglas has been having a difficult time with raising two children while her husband spends so many countless hours working at the office, it would be nice if she only had her close friend Suzanne to confide with, but she died. When she learns about a new social media site, she enlists her husband Scott's help to see if he is fine with her creating an online friend. Knowing how alone Rachel has been especially with him logging in so many hours to making a dent working on his latest clients stock investments, he's been warned unless they start to see results, he will find himself out of a job. If only he had someone to confide in, like Rachel does with her new virtual friend. Someone he can confide in that won't see him as a failure if his latest investment idea doesn't work out as planned. What harm can there be if Scott creates a virtual friend as well. Only both Scott and Rachel get more than either one ever bargained for and it has them wondering just where they crossed over the moral line in regards to their marriage. I received Friend Me by John Faubion compliments of Litfuse Publicity and Howard Books, a division of Simon and Schuster Publishers for my honest review. I did not receive any monetary compensation for a favorable review and the opinions expressed in this review are strictly my own. This is a chilling thought to know just how close we are in actually having a company create something like this. I could see so many people lining up to create their own "friend" without considering the implications of who is really on the other end with all the information you are feeding them to create that perfect friend. I think John pulled out all the stops on this one and makes you truly consider just who you are allowing to become your friend in all the social media platforms available today and in the very near future. You will not be able to put this one down until you know how it all plays out and John does an exceptional job at keeping the right amount of suspense going to keep you flipping pages! I loved this one and is a must read for suspense fans who love a twist to something that may not be that far off in our own future. I easily give this one a 5 out of 5 stars.
Fitzysmom More than 1 year ago
This book is sure to make you rethink how you interact on social media! We all seem to have people that we only know online. We've never met them in person and don't think a thing of revealing personal details to this unknown person because after all we connect so well with them. That's sort of how it starts with Scott and Rachel. Their marriage is unraveling and they both long to have someone that understands how they feel. When a 'virtual' friend begins to meet those needs it all seems so perfect. But who is behind this 'virtual' friend?  I love a great book of suspense that has me cringing and shuddering. Friend Me was that and more! It was one of those books that you begin to wonder just how the author came up with all these creepy angles. What is HE really like? LOL  If you like a novel that will keep you up at night and on the edge of your seat and totally skeptical about all of your Facebook friends, then you should definitely pick up a copy of this one!  I received a copy of this book to facilitate my review.
mustlovetoread More than 1 year ago
Friend Me By: John Faubion Friend Me is John Faubion’s first novel. I hope he writes many, many more. This was a great book full of suspense and mystery. I kept turning the pages, waiting to see what would happen next. Faubion has a unique way with words that brings the characters to life and pulls you into the action. What happens when you can’t talk to anyone and you feel like you don’t have any friends who care? Technology has progressed to the point that a company can make virtual friends. They can be friends with you on facebook, send you emails, and even video chat. You supply all the information about what you want this friend to think, act, say, and do. Want this virtual friend to replace a deceased family member or friend? No problem. Send in a picture, voice tapes, characteristics of the person, and your virtual friend comes to life on your computer screen. Scott works hard and comes home late. Rachel is lonely and creates Suzanne, a virtual friend. She starts putting ideas in Rachel’s head about what Scott could be doing working so late and not spending time with her. Does she really need a friend like that? Scott endures pressure at work, trying to make a financial account worth more. He employs a scheme he knows he shouldn’t, but he can’t afford to lose his job. Does he discuss it with his wife? No, but he discusses it with his virtual friend, who has become all the things he wished Rachel could be. Does he remember she isn’t real? Probably, until he thinks he sees her walking around in real life. What happens when his virtual friend decides he’s the husband for her and his wife needs to be permanently out of the picture so she can take her place? If Scott and Rachel had just communicated what they were feeling, Rachel would not have felt neglected nor needed a virtual friend to confide in, and Scott would not have needed to create Alicia. This puts events into motion that would change their lives. Add in a person who is mentally unstable, and you have a thriller like no other. Once you start this book, you will not be able to put it down till you get through all the twists and turns to the end. Can Scott and Rachel save their marriage and their lives before it’s too late? You’ll have to read the book to find out!
HollyMag321 More than 1 year ago
When I read the synopsis about this story I wanted to read it.  I’m so glad I did. This story focuses on one of my favorite topics, social media. This story was very interesting in the use of artificial intelligence with social media. Knowing what Google and other software developers are doing now this isn’t that far fetched. The story brings out themes that are relevant in lives today. The desire for the perfect relationship that comes easy and serves ones’ needs, with the staunch reminder that relationships take work on all involved. It also deals with how easily sin can happen and how easily we can justify that sin. Rachel and Scott are very believable married couple dealing with the challenges of a high stress job and the stay at home mom. This is an excellent thriller that deals with real life struggles that happen even within a Christian marriage. The author uses relevant scripture and godly wisdom in this story. I could see this becoming a movie. Disclaimer: I would like to thank Howard Books for the opportunity to review this book, the opinions here are strictly mine.
LisaLickel0 More than 1 year ago
John Faubion’s debut novel speaks to the heart of relationships, of the depths of marriage and the reality of what betrayal and unfaithfulness looks like to people of faith. Not something we might expect from a former missionary unless we knew that missionary turned software developer. You just knew a book like Friend Me had to come sooner or later in today’s social media world. Virtual reality, while around for a while, melds dangerously with physical reality in this story. When loneliness and disappointment lead Rachel Douglas to experiment with a new website to re-create a lost friendship with a virtual online avatar, neither she nor her husband realize they are being played. Rachel’s husband, Scott, is curious about his wife’s activities, and checks out the site. Stress at work may be part of the blame, but giving in to temptation and a lack of respect and trust in the people around him—a heart of sin—is what leads him to create a virtual playmate. What is unfaithfulness? Faubion explores the issue in this book that’s sure to generate a lot of good discussion. Told from three viewpoints, the two protagonists, Scott and Rachel, and the antagonist who’s the programmer, the reader is never in the dark about the depths to which each of them has fallen. Their deepest desires, their faults and their faith are all exposed as they strive for what they want. I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that most married couples reach a point from time to time of feeling stale or even betrayed; of not wanting to share burdens, of keeping secrets and lying to each other. This story shows what that’s like, and the hard work and discipline it takes to decide to practice marriage even when we may not always feel like it. Honestly Scott and Rachel were not always likeable and seemed to be graced by all good things, but that’s the way of grace. They learned, they grew, they forgave and were forgiven. An intriguing side note to the novel is Faubion’s inspiration. The concept for virtual friend creation came to him as business idea. You’ll want to read why he decided not to follow through. Readers of contemporary inspirational suspense will be fascinated with Friend Me, especially those who are curious about behind-the-scenes software development (not in-depth), and the possibilities of a frightening new computer reality that can so easily manipulate users with false perceptions and advertising.
jb70 More than 1 year ago
I was intrigued to read this book because it reminded me a bit of the premise for the movie Her which is in theaters now where a man falls in love with the operating system for his phone. What makes a person real and what do we lose when we rely on devices and technology instead of face to face meetings for relationships and interactions. Plus there have been other science fiction movies and books that have humanized robots which is always a bit disturbing! Rachel feels isolated and alone and misses her husband Scott who often comes home from work late. Her best friend passed away two years ago from cancer and she misses her. One day, while on Facebook, she sees a sidebar ad for something called Virtual Friend Me. When she goes there she meets Jane, a computer version of a person who looks real who introduces her to the possibilities for the site. You have a whole range of options to create your own friend and can even recreate a loved one you miss. Upload pictures and digital voice recordings and the site will make you a friend you can interact with face to face on the screen, on Facebook, through email or even texts. After the first thirty days, if you want to be able to interact with your new friend face to face you have to start paying a $15 fee. Rachel recreates her friend, Suzanne, and then shows Scott what she has done. Scott is having some rough day at work and feels like he can't tell Rachel about what is going on because it will cause her to worry so he decides to try out the site himself and create a friend. But Scott goes in a different direction. When prompted to pick male or female, he choose female. Then out of the array of options from colleague to friend to intimate he makes the last option his choice. From there he starts to become a bit obsessed with his new friend, spending every lunch hour in his car parked somewhere that has wi-fi so he can chat with and watch his friend. At this point it bothered me that both Rachel and Scott could have looked to each other for their needs or befriended someone new. Rachel could have tried to click with another mom at preschool drop off or at the gym she goes to a couple times a week. Scott could have taken his work worries to a buddy, since in selecting his option for Alicia (his virtual friend) he thought about how he had enough male friends. Adding suspense to the story is Melissa, a very technologically smart but broken inside woman who is in charge of the company that runs Virtual Friend Me. When he programs target Scott as he ideal love match she starts to take over the computer programs for the couple, allowing herself to play both Suzanne and Alicia and drive wedges between the couple, widening the cracks that are already there. The end quarter of the book is very fast moving, but I don't want to say too much about it! I liked the way the book was developed and how it shows some of the unsavory aspects of computerized interactions. I felt at times the author missed the mark with some of the aspects of the female characters. At one point at the gym the women are working out to Richard Simmons. I have done plenty of time at gyms or with videos at home and he has been out of vogue for quite some time now. Also he kept calling workout gear "exercise outfits", a term I don't usually think of for clothing and I think only older women wear matching tops and bottoms to work out in. I rarely wear the same color for both unless it is black and even usually not then. These issues were minor, but they just jumped out at me. Also, I was a bit unsure at one point why the characters were using cameras when they had cell phones, it seems like most of the time people now use their phones as their cameras.
VicG More than 1 year ago
John Faubion in his new book, “Friend Me” published by Howard Books brings us into the lives of Scott and Rachel Douglas. From the Back Cover:   “You’re afraid you are becoming unfaithful, aren’t you?”  Scott and Rachel’s marriage is on the brink of disaster. Scott, a businessman with a high-pressure job, just wants Rachel to understand him and accept his flaws. Rachel is a lonely housewife, desperate for attention and friendship. So she decides to create a virtual friend online, unaware that Scott is doing the exact same thing. But neither realizes that there’s a much larger problem looming. . . . Behind both of their online creations is Melissa, a woman who is brilliant— and totally insane. Masquerading as both friend and lover, Melissa programmed a search parameter into the Virtual Friend Me software to find her perfect man, but along the way she forgot to specify his marriage status. And Scott is her ideal match. Now Melissa is determined to have it all—Scott, his family, and Rachel’s life. As Melissa grows bolder and her online manipulations transition into the real world, Scott and Rachel figure out they are being played. Now it’s a race against time as Scott and Rachel fight to save their marriage, and their lives, before it’s too late. Stress and poor communication at home can lead to the spouses drawing even further from each other and unfaithfulness.  They finally build a social platform where you can build your own friend and eliminate the need for picking and choosing friends on other sites.  Are you still being unfaithful even though the female you are communicating with supposedly doesn’t exist?  How does this new friend change the dynamic in your marriage?  What will you do when this friend tries to destroy it?  These are the questions Mr. Faubion sets out to answer in this very exciting thriller.  He also gives us a chilling look at the dangers of the Internet and social websites.  We need real friends, real individuals who can understand us and be there for us when we need them and we can be there when they need us.  ”Friend Me” is an exciting page turner that will keep you reading and flipping pages as fast as possible.  Don’t start this book late at night because it will cost you sleep as you will not want to put it down.  Mr. Faubion has given us characters that are marvelous, meticulously crafted, and each one literally breathes on the pages. ”Friend Me” is a well done novel that I liked a lot. Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Litfuse Publicity Group.  I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
TheStephanieLoves More than 1 year ago
The deadly situation Rachel and Scott find themselves in is a domestic nightmare: an utterly creepy, technology-fueled nightmare. Both lonely and both exhausted—in different ways entirely—each turns to VirtualFriendMe, a website where one can personalize their own virtual friend—who can speak, chat, email, and even grow like a real human being. While VirtualFriendMe may be sweeping the nation, neither of them are aware of the fact that their conversations with their "friends" are being overridden by the company's developer, Melissa, who's set on loving Scott, the only man who's qualified in every area of her complicated algorithm—and yes, that means eliminating Rachel in the process. Following Melissa as she slowly but surely develops and hatches her horrific plan is interesting; the dramatic irony is crucial in understanding her as more than an evil genius: as a person. To Rachel and Scott, Melissa is a monster, and while I wouldn't disagree, readers are acquainted with her in such an intimate, exposing way, that you can't help but sympathize with her. This, as you can imagine, is a conflicting emotion, and it's completely intentional on Faubion's part; it raises the questions of what it means to be faithful, what it means to be evil, and what it means to be human. Faubion's voice is smooth and easy to follow, and the plot is cutting, deep and dark. The chapters are short, but each pack a huge punch; it was so hard for me to put this book down because I was so eager to find out what would happen next... and the what would happen after that, and that and that... It's worth mentioning Friend Me is a Christian suspense, meaning a lot of the story's main issues—primarily Scott's struggle to resist temptation and remain faithful to Rachel—reference straying away from the path of God, and contain lots of prayer as well. The inherent Christian elements also made it a rather tame dark suspense; there's nothing gory or explicit, as much of the nitty-gritty occurs behind closed doors. I understand Christian fiction isn't for everybody, but take my advice with a grain of salt. Even if these religious traits had bothered me, I'd still have enjoyed the book because of how absorbing and intricate the world of VirtualFriendMe is. Pros: Titillating suspense // Lots of danger and action // Fast-paced // Christian elements well incorporated into the entire length of the novel // Exciting, original sci-fi; Faubion creates an entertaining and intriguing virtual reality // Melissa is given an elaborate backstory Cons: Characters don't get very personal; they seemed very unmemorable to me, even though a lot of the book is character-driven // Seems overdramatized Verdict: Original and imaginative, while simultaneously current, edgy, and fast-paced, Friend Me creates a science fiction world that serves both as social commentary on the risks of being careless on the internet, and the sheer ease at which one can fall into temptation. The intense psychological manipulation and means one deluded woman will go to, just to get her way, will stun and captivate readers. John Faubion skillfully analyzes the difference and fine line between faithfulness and faith; his debut novel sentimentally speaks of the dangers of deviating from the word of God, and of depending too much on technology—which may be fun, but cannot and will not ever replace real life. Rating: 8 out of 10 hearts (4 stars): An engaging read that will be worth your while; highly recommended. Source: Complimentary copy provided by tour publicist in exchange for an honest and unbiased review (thank you, Litfuse!).
Laura_Pol More than 1 year ago
I thoroughly enjoyed Friend Me! It was such a unique way to deliver the message of faithfulness in a marriage with a twist! The overall concept of John Faubion's debut is an interesting one! The company Virtual Friend Me felt so realistic and it's effects on society, especially how Scott enters into a virtual relationship in the first place! However despite that the company is not real, I really appreciated one of the big messages in this novel concerning virtual relationships of today. Just because it's online and doesn't seem real, it doesn't mean that a person is remaining faithful to their spouse. As with Scott's interactions with his online "girl" it quickly became something more then just needing a friend. She began to consume his very thoughts and take time away from his family because he felt she was perfect in every way of meeting his needs (all except the physical). One of the biggest things I took from this novel was that it's important to guard your heart against temptation. It may seem that the marriage lost some of it's "sparkle" since the wedding day, but being content with your spouse and being grateful for them is key into not looking elsewhere. I give this book a 4.5 out of 5 stars since near the latter part of the book I felt things were sometimes a little rushed, such as Rachel discovering everything so quickly. However, I still highly recommend Friend Me to anyone who enjoys a good suspense novel with a message of the importance of faithfulness in marriage as well as forgiveness! *(Thank you Litfuse for letting me receive a free copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review! All thoughts expressed are my own and I was not required to write a positive review!)*