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Kevin O'Brien's 'Terrified': A Review

Updated on June 21, 2012

Pages: 550

Rating: ****

Kevin O'Brien is a writer that I had read quite a bit of during my teen years. As I grew older, sadly, O'Brien fell out of my inner circle of writers. Nothing against him, I think at the time, I was having a hard time getting his newer novels. While shopping at a local book rack, O'Brien's name suddenly stood out to me and I didn't hesitate to grab a copy of 'Terrified'. I was relieved to discover that O'Brien's story telling skills were still intact, if not stronger than before. Needless to say, I was so impressed with 'Terrified' that O'Brien has definitely reclaimed his seat at my royal writers of the round!

What would you do if you thought your life were in jeopardy? What extremes would you go to in order to protect yourself? Could you mastermind your own demise? That's exactly what Lisa Swanson had to do. In the beginning, Glenn Swanson was the kind of guy a lot of women would swoon over. Good looking, successful, wealthy and generous with his fortune. Although, once Lisa and Glenn exchanged vows, things took a turn for the worse. Glenn was no longer the loving man Lisa once knew. Instead he has become a dark, vicious tyrant with a temper that can only be quenched by violence. Desperate to escape her ill fated situation, Lisa fakes her death and flees across the country. With her new life, Lisa has become Megan Keeslar. All seems to to go well for Lisa. Even with a new identity, new career and a new sense of freedom, Lisa can never stop looking over her shoulder. With every shadow, Lisa fears that her past will return to haunt her. There are just two little details that Lisa didn't count on. A mysterious stalker following her pilgrimage, or the child she is carrying inside of her. After ten years, Lisa has done well hiding her identity, but when several dead women begin to appear, a sudden chill runs down her spine. She knows who the killer is, and she knows it's up to her to stop him. When her young son is taken from her, everything she's ever known is flipped upside down. Who can you turn to when there is no one who can be trusted? When the one thing you love more than life itself is suddenly taken from you, could you do anything other than be terrified?

Right from the beginning, 'Terrified' grabbed my attention. O'Brien had done a superb job of weaving an interesting tale of self preservation that will keep the pages turning with lightning speed. I finished the story in just under five days, and I was gripped with suspense every step of the way. O'Brien does a great job at creating a strong believable character in Lisa Swanson. Strong willed and determined, she is a great role model for abused women, or just for women in general. Even though her methods were extreme at times, her actions are proof that there is life after abuse. That people don't have to be afraid of the dark. I found myself feeling all of her emotions. I felt her paranoia when she realizes her home has been disturbed. I feel her desperation as she searches the city for her son. Most importantly, I feel that overwhelming terror when she realizes her world is falling apart, piece by piece. All the right components fell into the perfect places to create a riveting work of fiction that everyone can enjoy. The only thing that stopped me from giving the book a perfect score are some editing issues. In the last 100 pages, O'Brien dropped the ball somewhere. There were names crossed, so that dialogue is difficult to follow. In one occasion, a whole new name is used for an existing character. Am I being overly picky? maybe. When it causes the story to slow, and I need to reread sections to make sure I recognize who said what, I can't in good conscience give a perfect score. Typos happen, bad grammar happens, but name crossing just makes me grumble. That aside, 'Terrified' is truly a great story and shouldn't be missed.


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