Epeolatry Book Review: Being Followed by Derek Muk


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Title: Being Followed
Author: Derek Muk
Genre: Horror, thriller
Publisher: Demain Publishing
Publication Date: 31st January, 2024

Synopsis: Claire Goldman is a strong, independent woman with a pro-feminist background to substantiate it. She doesn’t like to be pushed around or intimidated. But when she starts receiving threatening letters because of a book she wrote it gives her pause. And she is human, after all!
Enter her ex-husband and college sweetheart, Albert, who will do whatever it takes to protect her from harm’s way and wants to rekindle that flame of romance and love they once possessed from when they were younger.
Will the two of them get over the stigma of being each other’s ‘ex’ and reunite successfully and will they manage to escape from the wrath of dark evil that threatens to smother and destroy not just Claire and Albert but the rest of the nation as well?
Derek Muk says of ‘Being Followed’: “My book is a topical, modern-day, real-life, current events horror story (mixed in with mystery, suspense, thriller, and romance) that mirrors what’s going on in the U.S. and I think readers will relate to that. The book was inspired by racial tensions sparked by the 2017 Charlottesville, Virginia rally, the January 6 coup/storming of the U.S. capitol, the murder of George Floyd, and the fascist atmosphere of the Trump Presidency.”
(cover by Adrian Baldwin)

Being Followed is the latest work of Derek Muk. Set between the present day and flash backs to 1995, the novella focuses on Claire Goldman and her ex-husband Albert Taylor. Claire is a professor and recent author of a book exposing the underbelly of the Utopia Euro-West and Blitzkrieg Blood Reich, white supremacy organizations. Their intimidation starts with threatening letters which leads Claire to reach out to Albert for advice.

The first half flips back and forth between Claire and Albert meeting each other for the first time in New York City at Columbia University, and modern-day San Francisco. As the reader gets acquainted with the couple, Claire is continually harassed by the shadowy organization. They have now made it their mission to find Claire and remove her. Robert, the leader of the Utopia Euro-West, is introduced and shown to be organizing a rally or gathering. 

As the threats ramp up, Claire moves into Albert’s home for safety and the two begin to rekindle their relationship. At this point it’s still not very clear as to why they broke up other than having rushed into their marriage. They seem to be on good terms even before the harassing letters. There’s an opening scene in the first half with Claire bringing Albert chicken soup for his cold. So, when a rather spicy scene takes place at Alberts home, it doesn’t feel like a rekindling but simply moving to its next logical step.

The second half begins with Albert accompanying Claire to a class she teaches on rape culture and victim blaming. Her harassment turns to attempted murder as Claire and Albert narrowly miss being hit by a car. Robert gathers several of his supporters and they call themselves “a coven”. They begin worshiping the “Almighty Lord of Darkness”.

The writing and construction of this novella leaves a lot to be desired. Many times, arcs are introduced that end up going nowhere or suddenly pop up out of the blue in the second half. For example, the reader is introduced to two foreign exchange students who are staying at Albert’s home. These students, Lee and Pei, make up most of chapter two. After that, they are hardly seen and make no big impact on the story.

There are also numerous over-explanations throughout. One of the most notable is a paragraph spent describing hot dogs. Within that paragraph, the main character manages to describe “mouthwatering” three different ways. In another, the reader is reminded that “two birds with one stone” is only an expression. If these were limited only to the main character, the reader could reasonably assume that this is a character quirk. However, when the narrative also includes these over-explanations, like recalling for the reader that Claire was almost hit by a car half a page after she was almost hit by a car, it seems more like poor editing.

Readers who are fans of pulpy detective novels might consider Being Followed by Derek Muk. Otherwise, give this one a pass.


Available from Amazon.

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