For fans of Gillian Flynn, Laura Lippman, and Paula Hawkins comes Holly Seddon’s arresting fiction debut—an engrossing thriller full of page-turning twists and turns, richly imagined characters, and gripping psychological suspense.
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 after a merciless assault. Amy Stevenson, who has been in a coma for fifteen years, forgotten by the world. 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 uncovering the unspeakable truth, Alex realizes she’s not just chasing a story—she’s seeking salvation.
Shifting from present to past and back again, Try Not to Breathe unfolds layer by layer until its heart-stopping conclusion. The result is an utterly immersive, unforgettable debut.
For me this book had two stories woven into one. It is essentially how Alex uses Amy and her story as a mechanism slowly rebuild her life. It made an interesting blend and set it apart from other ‘who did it’ novels. I really enjoyed the fact that the author kept you guessing right until the very end, whilst tormenting us with red herrings along the way. I loved thinking that Amy was still in their and the instalments from Amy were very compelling. The ramifications of a traumatic event were also explored in this book. The people close to Amy had all been affected in different and sometimes subtle ways and Alex’s investigation was a vehicle to analyse this.
Alex’s struggle with alcoholism permeates the entire book. It was shocking to hear the extent at which she had ruined her body. The vivid depiction throughout the book about addiction was flawless. I sometimes find it hard to warm to really flawed characters but the fact that Alex knew her problems and has the strength to try and overcome them was really inspiring. I felt like I really felt her growing as the novel went on.
The only issues I had was that I felt it went on for too long. In my opinion it could have been cut down a bit. I found myself skipping some of the flashbacks about Alex’s background because I just wanted to know what happened to Amy. That was the only thing that I felt brought this down and I think that is just my impatience speaking. But on the whole I really liked it.
This book is slightly similar to the Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins. But I think this book is better than the as the protagonist is much more likeable and strong and the story of Amy is much more gripping, interesting and unique. The characters are explored and brought to life vividly and enhance an already captivating plot.