Review: Try Not to Breathe by Holly Seddon

27793667Amy Stevenson was the biggest news story of 1995. Only fifteen years old, Amy disappeared walking home from school one day and was found in a coma three days later. Her attacker was never identified and her angelic face was plastered across every paper and nightly news segment.

Fifteen years later, Amy lies in the hospital, surrounded by 90’s Britpop posters, forgotten by the world until reporter Alex Dale stumbles across her while researching a routine story on vegetative patients.

Remembering Amy’s story like it was yesterday, she feels compelled to solve the long-cold case.

The only problem is, Alex is just as lost as Amy—her alcoholism has cost her everything including her marriage and her professional reputation.

In the hopes that finding Amy’s attacker will be her own salvation as well, Alex embarks on a dangerous investigation, suspecting someone close to Amy.

Told in the present by an increasingly fragile Alex and in dream-like flashbacks by Amy as she floats in a fog of memories, dreams, and music from 1995, Try Not to Breathe unfolds layer by layer to a breathtaking conclusion.

 Goodreads / Amazon

Release Date: February 23, 2016

This a debut novel? Seriously? I couldn’t be more impressed with Holly Seddon’s Try Not to Breathe.

The pacing of this mystery is perfect, unraveling at a rate that keeps you hooked but doesn’t drag on. The different points-of-view and flashbacks are very well-done and allow the reader to know each character in a more intimate way. Seddon has a knack for detail and setting the right tone. She tells it like it is, not bothering to sugar-coat the truth for her characters.

As a character-driven reader, I was immediately caught by the strong development of each character and the hardships that they faced. Alex’s struggle with alcoholism; Jacob’s secrets and the tension it causes with his wife; Sue’s desperate need to keep the illusion of a perfect family; and the resolution of all these issues revolving around the solving of a terrible crime committed fifteen years earlier. Even Amy who lay in a vegetative state throughout the novel had a personality that came through not only in her foggy memories but through those who knew and loved her.

The only thing keeping me at a four-star rating is the fact that I knew who-done-it from almost the beginning. I like the shock factor in a mystery novel, and it was obvious to me who the bastard was. However, the ending wasn’t so important as the journey, and Seddon’s ability to suck you into the world and thoughts of her characters is superb.

I’m officially a fan and will be on the look-out for anything and everything Seddon publishes.



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