Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Try Not to Breathe by Holly Seddon

I've been reading a lot of thrillers lately and this is by far one of the better ones I've read this year. I've noticed that contemporary thrillers really enjoy playing with the use of time in order to create an added sense of mystery and this can be successful to varying degrees. Try Not to Breathe does this on a much smaller scale, the case in question is from the past, but most of the time is spent in the present.

Alex is a journalist who is watching her career slip away the same way her marriage did due to her own self destructive behaviors. While in the hospital doing research for one story, she recognizes a patient, Amy a victim from a case many years ago. Intrigued, she begins investigating the case again in an effort to both uncover what happened and set her own career right back on track.

Amy is in a coma and is trapped inside her body, still stuck in the past. We see things from her point of view at times--a strong overall sense of confusion pervades her. Her teenage boyfriend still visits her regularly despite the fact that he himself is married. He still feels a strong sense of obligation to her but his secret visits are destroying his marriage.

All of these stories intertwine to create a compelling narrative about what exactly happened to Amy Stevenson. Despite the infuriating behavior of the characters at times they are all empathetically written and the book moves along at a quick pace as the past is uncovered. The conclusion is satisfying and surprising.

I really enjoyed this book not only for the strength of the characters and writing but also because I found it touching it its own way. A thriller with such a crime at the heart of it is not really successful unless you can also feel the lingering sorrow of all that is lost. I also really liked how deeply Alex felt for Amy and how hard she fought for her.

I received a digital ARC for review from the publisher.


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