A less funny, more intense than usual Jeff Strand novel, Pressure tells the story of Alex and his long relationship with initially-odd-but-eventually-psychopathic Darren. It begins when the two are children at school, moves through their college years, and settles on their final interactions when they are in their late 20s.
Overall, Pressure is an entertaining read that convincingly sells the reader on how damaged an individual Darren is, while building their hope that Alex has enough brains to not get too involved with him. Of course he doesn't (and what kind of novel would it be if he did?) so the tension mounts as the reader imagines just what horrible things might befall Alex at the hands of Darren.
Pressure affected me quite significantly. It certainly lagged in places and was somewhat let down by some questionable decisions on behalf of the main character that served the plot rather than worked within it, but neither of those things changed the fact that I found myself genuinely feeling for Alex before the end of this novel. And that, to me, is the sign of a quality read.
Strand's trademark whip-smart dialogue is again on display, and it really is readily consumable, so if you're on the hunt for a dark-thriller that occasionally crosses the line into horror, then Pressure is well worth your time and effort.
4 Dogs Gone Missing for Pressure.