#BookReview: Net Switch by Denise Baer

Posted by in Lit Chat | 10 comments

By far, Denise Baer’s Net Switch is the best self-published book I have read. I stayed up late and got up early to finish. Loss of sleep is one of the best compliments for readability that a book can ever receive. The obscure nature of reality fills this psychological suspense novel with multiple mental twists and turns and invites the reader to sit shot-gun with one very tortured soul.

In order to alleviate her suffering, the narrator finds herself in more than one risky situation. Sydney finds herself looking for attention in online chat rooms. When she identifies herself as “Newbie,” a gentleman aptly named Arcane moves in to claim his prey. Sydney makes every mistake that can be made when it comes to meeting people online. It comes as no surprise that the relationship that springs from such secrecy results in pain and frustration for Sydney.

 

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The book is written as a series of journal entries, but from the viewpoints of two narrators. Caitlyn’s entries (fewer and farther in between) seem a bit jarring and unrelated at first, but given how the setting of Net Switch locates the narrator in a mental institution on the first page, the two seemingly disconnected narrators soon morph into two sides of a sad tale.

The narrative is written in a close first-person point of view. Italics are often used to show Sydney carrying on an inner-monologue. The author impressively sustains the almost suffocating perspective throughout the novel, which is no small writing feat. Indeed, the limitations of the narrative voice provide the novel’s utterly engrossing appeal.

The connection between the two voices shown in the journal entries could have perhaps been bridged a bit better with an outside transition between the two, such as another character shown reading the entries to help provide more context. Another small quibble would be in the sexually gratuitous videos found on YouTube and the seemingly inept police officers that appear in the story. Yet, considering the fragile and skewed mindset of both narrators, the reader starts to question their own perceptions of the text.

Sydney then moves to Seattle for a fresh start, but she really just begins slowly unraveling all over again. The reader may question how she affords such a move, but that’s all in the fun of reading this book. Indeed, the reader will question almost everything by the end.

The sex and language flow naturally as part of the story, and overly graphic scenes are not dwelled upon, but could potentially not be to some readers’ taste. However, great literature seeks to capture all walks of life, and Net Switch does just that.

You can connect with Denise Baer via her blog.

 

Are you typically drawn to novels of psychological suspense?

 

 

A complimentary copy was provided by the author in exchange for this review.

For more insight, read my Book Review Criteria or visit the Review Request Page.

The cover image used in this post is for promotional purposes only and complies with fair use guidelines.

Jeri Walker-Bickett
JeriWB writes short stories, creative nonfiction, and psychological suspense. The rough Idaho mining town she grew up in populates her literary landscape. She also works as a freelance editor.
Jeri Walker-Bickett

@JeriWB

Author of short stories, creative nonfiction, and psychological suspense. Blogger of writing tips and lit chat. Freelance editor. http://t.co/sfCsmQ5hyM
Soup Recipes Simmering With Chicken, Potato, Veggies And More http://t.co/Qtia07bACe - 15 mins ago
Jeri Walker-Bickett
Jeri Walker-Bickett
Jeri Walker-Bickett
I offer a variety of freelance editing services. Previously, I served as an editorial assistant with The Idaho Review, Boise State's literary journal.

10 Comments

  1. I find online chat rooms a little scary. The police regularly monitor them, pretending to be young women, so they can catch sexual predators. I often will stay up most of the night if I’m totally engrossed in a book. I suffer the next day, but the joy of the moment found in a book is worth it!

    • I think the book that pulled me in more than any other book was Cormac McCarthy’s The Road. I read it from cover to cover while my husband was watching Boise State win the Tostitos Bowl!

  2. Wow… this one sounds interesting. Perhaps a manual on how NOT to use the internet…

    • The really great thing about the novel is that the reader begins to question whether or not the main character is really in a chat room or just imagining she is.

  3. Holly Cow, this sounds like a nail biter. I think I’m with Geek Girl. This could a great primer on how not to get involved with someone online… :) Again, compliments to you for another great review. :)

    • I really enjoyed this book. Reading it even made me re-think the path my novel has been on!

  4. this sounds good — what are the best sites you’ve found for discovering self-published ebooks? you hear about the big successes, of course, but i have not made any point to search out anything.

    • Indies Unlimited is probably the site I most visit for info on Indie Books. I’m slowly following discovering other sites as well.

  5. You said it! Loss of sleep is truly one of the best compliments for readability that a book can ever receive. This book sure sounds like a page turner and thanks for a very enjoyable review.

    • Denise’s book really was awesome. I admire writers who can manipulate a character’s reality and sense of perception the way she does.

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