J.A. Konrath has recommended several books to me in the past, but none sounded as intriguing as Jeff Strand’s PRESSURE. When I told Joe that I’d picked up a copy and was getting ready to start it he said, “When you’re done reading it, you’ll want to hug your family.” He was right.
PRESSURE follows a young boy named Alex, who at around 12 years old, while trying to impress some kids from school, is busted for a small crime and sent to boarding school. It is here that he befriends a boy named Darren. Alex knows that there is something odd about Darren, but he doesn’t realize that Darren is murderously insane. Their lives are closely interwoven through college and when Darren says he wants Alex to join him in his bloodlust, Alex wants nothing to do with it. There’s just one problem: Darren won’t take “No” for an answer.
Strand has written a book that you can’t put down. As the tension mounts, you find yourself turning page after page, because you have to know what terrible thing is going to happen next. Once you reach that event, it’s like a release valve being opened because you’re there, you know what’s going on. But then you realize that it’s only a setup to the next catastrophic event. Fortunately, Alex’s narrative has a bit of a smart-ass tone, so there’s a sense of relief from the… ahem… pressure.
PRESSURE is a dark look at the different types of pressures we all face: family, success, dating, popularity, and whether or not you can stand up to/for your friends.
I flew through this book, and have been recommending it like crazy. If you like suspense thrillers, this is one of the best I’ve read in a while. Disturbing, chilling, scary, intense. Pick it up now and find out for yourself.