Copycat is the latest psychological thriller from bestselling author Alex Lake. It’s a twisty, atmospheric tale that centers around one woman’s attempt to get to the bottom of a series of suspicious events that have managed to turn her once picture-perfect life upside-down. It’s the kind of book that will keep you glued to the pages, so make sure you have plenty of free time before diving in.
Sarah Havenant is a doctor in small town Maine where she lives with her husband and three children. Her life is hectic but fulfilling, and she can’t imagine living any other way. Sure, she’d like a little more free time, and maybe her husband could help out a bit more around the house, but, all in all, Sarah knows she’s living the good life. Then, a chance social media encounter with a high school friend clues Sarah into the fact that something is very, very wrong.
It seems someone has taken over Sarah’s identity. There are two Facebook profiles set up in her name. She’s familiar with one of them, since it’s the one she herself set up, but who could have set up the other one? Whoever is responsible obviously knows Sarah very well, as the account they created is filled with pictures of Sarah’s husband, children, and even the inside of her house – but why would someone do such a thing?
Initially, Sarah and her husband Ben are convinced it’s nothing but someone’s idea of a bad joke, but things soon take a more sinister turn. The Facebook profile is mysteriously deleted, Sarah’s friends and acquaintances begin receiving emails and text messages from someone claiming to be Sarah, and packages she didn’t order show up at her door. It soon becomes obvious that the party responsible for all these things isn’t joking around.
At first, Ben believes Sarah when she tells him she’s really not responsible for all the strange things going on. He tries to help her get to the bottom of things, but, as the strange events continue, Ben begins to lose faith in his wife. Sarah is sure this is exactly what her stalker wants, but she can’t make Ben listen. He eventually starts to question her sanity, and Sarah knows she has to figure all of this out before it costs her everyone and everything she loves.
We spend most of our time inside Sarah’s head, but we are treated to an occasional glimpse into the psyche of her stalker, something that adds an extra layer of spookiness to the story. I love when an author can help readers understand the motivations of the villain without spoiling things, and Mr. Lake does a great job of this here. We’re given just enough information to take the villain seriously, but not enough to clue us in to their identity.
I liked Sarah’s character for the most part, but I did find myself frustrated by some of her decisions. There were several times she would decide on a course of action without really thinking it through, and then act extremely surprised when things didn’t end up the way she thought they should. She could also be quite naïve at times, and, while I’m aware that most people don’t go around thinking the worst of the people in their lives, there were a few times I wanted to shake her for not seeing what was right under her nose.
Copycat is a compulsively readable story and I found myself reading late into the night. I kept telling myself I’d stop at the end of the chapter, but I just couldn’t do it. I needed to know who had it in for Sarah, and then, when the villain’s identity was revealed, I was shocked. I thought I had it figured out a few different times, but I was totally wrong, and that’s just how I like it.
I urge all fans of psychological suspense novels to give Copycat a try. Then, if you find yourself totally hooked, you can pick up the author’s two previous novels. That’s exactly what I plan to do.