I discovered Meg Elison this year at Chicago WorldCon. She was a guest on a couple of panels my son and I attended, and she was funny, smart, and incredibly entertaining. On one of those panels she read from Number One Fan, and my son and I looked at each other and said, “Okay, that’s one we need to get.”
Turns out we were right! Number One Fan is a nerve-shredding thriller, a gender-swapped twist on Misery that reads like a runaway freight train.
Eli Grey, the protagonist, is a best-selling fantasy writer who climbs into what she thinks is her Uber ride, only to be thrown into a brutal nightmare. Drugged, she wakes up chained in a basement. This begins a brutal contest of wills between her and her “number one fan,” a delusional wannabe writer who wants to make her life his own.
Eli, alternately drugged, starved, dehydrated, and brutalized, must battle not only her psychotic fan, but her own demons as well. Elison starts in third gear and never lets up. She know how to ratchet up the tension to an almost unbearable degree. And Eli is a winning character. She’s flawed and real, and her reserves of fuck you strength in the face of impossible circumstances is inspiring.
As an added bonus for fans of fantasy, conventions, cosplay, and fanfic, Elison includes a ton of inside baseball style knowledge. She clearly knows that world well, and it adds a fun element to the novel.
Number One Fan is tailor-made for fans of character-driven thrillers and horror. Give it a read. I promise you’ll be Elison’s number one fan (sorry, I couldn’t resist).