Carrie Blue

Created by Bethany Campbell (pseudonym of Sally McCluskey)

CARRIE BLUE is an 40-something ex-cop and former high school teacher who gets roped in by Hayden Ivanovich of the Burnside Detective Agency of Fayetteville, Arkansas to act as bait on a "virtual reality community." Turns out there's a charming predator who may be responsible for the disappearance of several young women he's wooed online in the romantic suspense/cautionary tale, Don't Talk to Strangers (1996).

Pretty ho-hum, right?

Except... check that publication date! 1996?

The internet was still in the dial-up era then (Carrie has a home computer, but no modem), and here was this rookie author pretty much nailing down what's now become common knowledge (and an arguably overused thriller trope): the internet can be a scary and dangerous place.

Shocking, right?

Twenty years later, parts of the book may be unintentional funny, thanks to the outdated terminology ("Netsex," anyone? How about "DOS"?), and parts of it are still just crazy (a terrorist plot and people so stupidly gullible you wonder that they still know how to breathe) but the author displays some muscular writing chops, and the overall mood is still unsettling and chilling.

Bethany Campbell is the pen-name of Sally McCluskey, an American romance writer, who also writes as Lisa Harris. She's received three Romance Writers of America RITA Awards, three Romantic Times Reviewer Awards, a Maggie Award, and the Daphne du Maurier Award of Excellence.


Report respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.

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