Publication Date: February 21, 2021
The drunk driver that killed Tess’ daughter got two years in prison but why should his daughter, Eve, live when hers had died. Tess obsessively stalks Eve and when the young girl goes missing, Tess is the obvious suspect but what if it wasn’t her?
I received this book for review from the Book Club Reviewer Facebook group.
If She Dies is a study in grief. Because Tess is telling us this story, we never really know how honest she’s being with us. What the reader learns early on is that Tess avoids reality with the exception of the loss of Lily which she sees as her loss alone. Tess is wrapped in sorrow and an unfocused need for vengeance that leaps from the page. What the first person method does is create a connection to the character for a reader. Tess can be a lot but we understand, she’s lost what she saw as her purpose. She feels that her husband doesn’t feel the loss as deeply as she does but then she doesn’t ask because, frankly, she’s too lost in herself to care. A twist changes the story when we see Tess receive a harassing note. She conceals it because that’s what she does, hides. As an avid reader, one wonders how much of this psychological thriller’s twists and turns are outside of Tess’ head in the spirit of Dennis Lehane’s Shutter Island.
If She Dies is chilling. Objectively looking at the narrative flow, it’s economical but not sparse. We’re not getting the whole story from our unreliable narrator but enough that a bridge is built. Overall, If She Dies, is a beautiful read with unpredictable twists. Tess evolves over the story in a way you wouldn’t expect when meeting her at the start of the story as she stalks a 12 year old girl. The development is natural with logical impetus that shows care and attention from the creator. The change begins when there’s danger outside of Tess’ grief bubble. She seems to see the threats as part of what she’s owed for losing her daughter as she did – part of her blame.
In case you’ve missed it in my rambling, If She Dies is a heavily character driven read. Beautifully written and thoughtfully crafted, it’s a engrossing read that is hard to put down. At times it’s chilling and at other times just really sad. As a mother of one daughter who had her child later in life, I deeply identified with this character. Thankfully, I haven’t had to live Tess’ experience but what if I had? Would I react as Tess did? Feel as Tess does? If She Dies just feels very real in an unsettling way.
This book is scheduled to come out on February 21, 2021 but is already out on ebook. If you’re looking for a good listen for the long weekend, pick this book up on audible today.
Listen to an excerpt and buy If She Dies by Erik Therme on