|Title:||Try Not to Breathe|
|Published:||2016, Ballantine Books|
|No. of Pages:||368|
|Cover Price:||$26.00, $12.99 Kindle|
An experienced journalist, Holly Seddon, has written her first novel, Try Not To Breathe. In the style of Gone Girl and Girl on the Train, this novel tells the stories of Amy Stephenson, a 15 year old girl who was abducted, beaten, and left for dead, but was rescued and has been in a vegetative state for 15 years; Alex Dale, a journalist who has lost everything due to her alcoholism; and Jacob, who was Amy’s boyfriend 15 years ago and whose marriage is crumbling due to the fact that he can’t get over the past and still is drawn to visiting Amy. Alex, who was fired from The Times for her drinking, is now freelancing, and trying to find a story that will help relaunch her writing career. She decides to write about Amy, and begins visiting her in the hospital and talking to her, even though Amy doesn’t seem to respond. Alex meets Jacob, who also visits Amy, and together they work to try to solve the 15-year old crime.
As the novel moves along, and Alex digs for information on the attempted murder of Amy, there are some interesting twists and turns, as well as surprises. The author does a good job of making the characters seem real, and defining their personalities. There are other characters on the peripheral, and the interaction is interesting. Alex is quite pushy as she gathers information, and has no qualms about contacting people and grilling them until they throw her out. She enlists the help of her ex-husband (a policeman), who is remarrying and due to have a child, putting his relationship in jeopardy.
The fact that Alex is so aggressive in her investigation will put readers a bit on edge, and as the suspense builds, readers will feel the pressure and will worry about the danger the characters are in. While the ending is not a huge surprise, by careful reading and of course some guessing, readers may be able to foresee the outcome. However, the book is organized and well-written, and no one will be sure if their guess is right until the very end. Seddon is English, and the story takes place in England; the verbiage is English, and Americans may have to think a little to figure out the idioms. This doesn’t take away from the story; rather it enhances it.
Readers who enjoyed the style of Gone Girl and Girl on the Train, where each character tells his/her story in separate chapters, will certainly enjoy this novel. It is a fast read, and quite difficult to put down. Seddon is an author to watch, and Try Not to Breathe is definitely destined to be a best-seller.
Special thanks to NetGalley for supplying a review copy of this novel.
This book may be purchased at Amazon:
Try Not to Breathe: A Novel, Hardcover
Try Not to Breathe: A Novel, Kindle