Social Icons

Thursday, April 21, 2016

5/5 Review: Try Not to Breath by Holly Seddon

Some secrets never die. They’re just locked away.

Alex Dale is lost. Destructive habits have cost her a marriage and a journalism career. All she has left is her routine: a morning run until her body aches, then a few hours of forgettable work before the past grabs hold and drags her down. Every day is treading water, every night is drowning. Until Alex discovers Amy Stevenson. Amy Stevenson, who was just another girl from a nearby town until the day she was found unconscious after a merciless assault. Amy Stevenson, who has been in a coma for fifteen years, forgotten by the world. Amy Stevenson, who, unbeknownst to her doctors, remains locked inside her body, conscious but paralyzed, reliving the past.

Soon Alex’s routine includes visiting hours at the hospital, then interviews with the original suspects in the attack. But what starts as a reporter’s story becomes a personal obsession. How do you solve a crime when the only witness lived but cannot tell the tale? Unable to tear herself away from her attempt to uncover the unspeakable truth, Alex realizes she’s not just chasing a story—she’s seeking salvation.


The book is told in an interesting intermittent flashback format, by Alex Dale who is still grieving the loss of her husband, her baby & her career. Alex is also in deep denial of her alcohol addiction. Alex is narrating the present-day chapters in first-person, while the flashback chapters, are told from Amy's point of view which describe the actions of several key characters on one day 15 years ago.

 Besides Alex, the most fascinating character in the book is that of Jacob, the married man with secrets tottering on the brink of fatherhood. Jacob, yearning for the girlfriend who was taking from him to soon. Living with an over protected mother, is such a confused, unlikeable person at times. Yet this author makes the reader see the good in Jacob and how much he wants to do right by everyone, even as the story moves the angst-ridden man inexorably toward the unspeakable crime which are at the center of the narrative.

Holly Seddon's prose style is unique, complex and utterly creative.She is an expert in her ability to paint a word picture of a situation or a character in a few phrases.Seddon does an excellent job of taking a woman who has hit rock bottom and showing us why she's so messed up -- and at the same time, how beautiful and smart she is.Seddon writes action sequences very well. When she wants to, she can command your attention and allow you to experience what horrible thing is happening to each character. She also compels you to finish reading by speeding up the pace and making you want to keep going. This novel is shocking, brutal and disconcerting, an unsparing exploration of people and their motives, a harsh landscape that questions long-held assumptions about the human capacity for violence.

 This novel is a fascinating murder mystery, but it is so much more than that. It is a wise, evocative character study -- a glimpse into the lives of people who are lost and are struggling to find their way in a dangerous world. Some never find a path, some show others a path, and some find refuge -- which can be either heaven or hell. But all of these people -- for better or worse -- matter, and their intertwined lives are a lesson to the reader that even the tiniest action may have huge unintended consequences.

1 comment: