By Jennifer Hillier
If you’ve been yearning for a galvanic response to a thriller, get your hands on a copy of Jennifer Hillier’s first novel, Creep. You’ll find it compelling from the first sentence to the last twist at the end.
What we liked most is that it proved an intelligent take on the serial killer genre, pitting social psychologist prof Sheila Tao against her own graduate teaching assistant Ethan Wolfe. Don’t fret; this is not a reveal, as you know from the beginning that Ethan is a control freak, and early on he seeks his revenge on his lover, Dr. Tao.
Nobody’s perfect, certainly not the good prof. She is a recovering sex addict, now engaged to an almost too-good-to-believe fellow, successful, wealthy banker Morris Gardener, himself a recovering alcoholic. But, obviously, she hasn’t fully recovered: case in point, her three-month affair with Ethan.
When she finally breaks the affair off, he loses it, kidnapping her and holding her prisoner, with threats of death. She has much to fear, because a serial killer stalks the streets of Seattle, the novel’s setting, and she sees evidence that implicates Ethan.
Much of the novel, and the best part, is Tao’s psychological dueling with Ethan, to preserve her life and, hopefully, to escape her captivity.
While she tries to stay alive, fiancé Morris hires a private detective, a former cop, and the two suffer their own trials and tribulations as they frantically search for her.
Creep will keep you on the edge of her seat and turning pages until you finish, in spite of needing a bit of editorial paring. w/c