Review: Haterz

Haterzby James Goss

Solaris, out now

The power of social media should not be underestimated…

In Haterz, there’s a writer who responds to bad reviews by other writers by swamping their Amazon listings with one-star reviews.

In unconnected news, I am delighted to announce that I give this book five stars!

And now I’m scared, wondering if such a feeble joke appearing on a public site like this would bring down the wrath of Haterz’ protagonist on me. Dave starts his murderous career by killing someone whose constant inane Facebook posts annoy him, although the specific trigger for her murder is a desire to stop her stirring up trouble for him online. That’s the thing that most of his victims have in common: they delight in being mean and petty on the internet, not caring – in fact, often revelling in the fact – that they’re destroying lives. If you’ve spent any time at all on social media or fora you will be nodding in recognition so many times during this book you’ll resemble Churchill the comedy advert dog.

Seeing each troll etc. succumb to their Theater of Blood-style fate should be cathartic; it isn’t, both because the world they exist in is too bleak to feel much relief, and because James Goss has cleverly painted in some shades of grey for both victims and murderer – not so many that it prevents this being a black comedy but just enough to be thought-provoking. By the end of the book I was ready to delete my Facebook and Twitter accounts immediately and swear off the internet for any purpose other than online shopping; it took a while before the book’s powerful message was diluted enough in my brain to remember that social media has positives too. One of which is discovering gems like Haterz.

It hardly needs saying to anyone who’s read any of Goss’s previous work, but Haterz is not only a page-turner but a well-written one (I did, incidentally, read the book in one sitting, it’s that engaging). The only potential problem is that the book is set so clearly now that in a few years’ time it might feel outdated (before there’s enough distance in time to bring it out the other side as a period piece). So I strongly suggest you don’t delay but read it right now. Yes, I mean *right* now. Today. Go on…

Verdict: What are you waiting for? Buy it. 9/10

Jacqueline Rayner

Click here to buy Haterz from Amazon.co.uk

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