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 Thermeon
Noted novelist and screenwriter, William Goldman, died today at the age of 87. Goldman’s first original screenplay was Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1967) which he followed with some of his well-known scripts that include The Princess Bride (1973) and Marathon Man (1974), which were originally novels. One of my favorite Goldman novels is No Way to Treat a Lady (1964), so I’ve chosen that work to share with you. If this novel doesn’t appeal to you, look into this very diverse author’s body of work. There is something out there perfectly suited for your tastes.
Publication Date: 1964
No Way to Treat a Lady was originally published under the name Harry Longbaugh and written over a two week period, No Way to Treat a Lady imagines that there were two Boston Stranglers who were aware and deeply jealous of each other and follows the investigation to track them down.
Stacey Ashton has disappeared. While Melanie Foster thinks she may have run off with Melanie’s husband. It soon becomes clear that there’s a good chance that she was murdered. But by who? Can suave, handsome, best-butt-in-the-nation, man-for-the-ages Brett Cornell solve the case Brett Enters the Golden Circle is the fifth book in the Brett Cornell series.
In Wedding Bells for Brett by David D’Aguanno, Brett Cornell, a heartthrob for the 1980s, once again finds himself in hot water. A young woman that Brett married as a proxy of sorts is found dead in a hotel room under suspicious circumstances. Can Brett solve the case and dodge the sentence for which he seems destined. Wedding Bells for Brett is the fourth book in the Brett Cornell series. Continue reading Wedding Bells for Brett by David D’Aguanno
In The Earth Bleeds Red by Jackson Baer, Scott Miller’s daughter, Ashley, is kidnapped and presumed dead. Her boyfriend is the only witness and is, to the police, the obvious suspect until three other missing girls are found dead bearing the mark of a serial killer known to the FBI. With the clock ticking on Ashley’s life, will she be found in time?
Publication Date: September 1, 2009 | Audio Release Date: November 4, 2008
Oliver Stone (code name of John Carr) is the most wanted man in America. To evade authorities, he flees to a small coal-mining town in West Virginia with a big drug problem and a supermax prison. This is an audio book review of “Divine Justice”, the fourth book in Camel Club series.
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