Kiss Me First, by Lottie Moggach, Picador, RRP£14.99, 320 pages
The title of Lottie Moggach’s debut novel may suggest a breezy summer read, but Kiss Me First is a dark psychological thriller about the threat social media poses to our sense of self.
Introverted computer geek Leila leads an unremarkable existence until she discovers Red Pill, an online chatroom promoting philosophical debate. Her comments impress Adrian, the site’s founder, who coerces Leila into assuming the online identity of thirtysomething manic-depressive Tess, who plans to commit suicide. The catch? Tess wants to make her exit in secret to avoid hurting her family and entrusts Leila with the task of convincing everyone that she’s moved abroad. But loopholes in the plan and a disturbing discovery lead to unforeseen events.
As governments’ use of the internet is under the spotlight, Moggach (who is the daughter of novelist Deborah Moggach) offers an engaging and suspenseful look at the subtle perils the web presents to the human condition.