Today is my stop on the blog tour for ‘If She Dies’ by Erik Therme , organised by Damppebbles Blog Tours. I hope that you will check out the other blogs on the tour (see the banner below) as well as the book and author.
Disclaimer: ‘I was given a copy this book in exchange for an honest review.’
How far would you go to right a wrong?
Nine months ago, Tess’s five-year-old daughter was killed in a car accident. The driver, Brady Becker, was sentenced to two years in prison. It didn’t make Tess’s pain go away.
Brady also has a daughter: A twelve-year-old named Eve who walks to Chandler Middle School every day. Tess knows this because she’s been watching Eve for the last three weeks. It isn’t fair that Brady’s daughter gets to live, while Tess’s daughter does not.
When Eve goes missing, all eyes turn to Tess, who doesn’t have an alibi. But Tess isn’t guilty.
Or so she believes.
If She Dies takes an interesting approach to being a thriller. While there are certainly twists and turns, and false leads as you might expect from the genre, particularly in the latter part of the book, this is a book that takes it is time to build up to the action. It’s very much a slow burn, instead, taking it’s time to establish our main character Tess – and to explore her grief following the death of her daughter. Therme does an outstanding job of bringing that loss, and all the tangled web of emotions around it to life in a way that is raw and believable, and because we spend this much time with Tess it is impossible not to be pulled into those feelings.
Tess was a conflicting character. On the one hand, her situation and her grief are inescapable and understandable, and you can’t help but feel for the place she is in even if you don’t entirely agree with her decisions. Was her behaviour rational? Not really. Is it something that another person would do in the same situation? No, but that is the point, because grief is one of those emotions that has as many different forms as there are people, and that just adds to the believability of her story. While on the other some of her choices are frustrating particularly when the action ramps up and she follows paths that could lead her into danger, but work within the context of how she is thinking and feeling. Her husband was less conflicting, I found it very hard to like him, but I could appreciate the way his actions – his way of coping with what had happened – contrasted with hers.
In some ways, this was more drama than thriller, and I might have preferred a little more pace to the story as it unfolded, particularly in the earlier portion of the book. That said, once the action began, it did pick up and it felt very much as though Tess ran a gauntlet and here we saw the twists and turns of the thriller, and they were as well-written as the characters and emotion, although it did feel as though they were secondary to that action. However, regardless of any pacing issues, the conclusion of this book was well worth the wait and built-up to brilliantly, and really brought the rest of the book together. There were a couple of aspects that I half-expected, but for the most part, it caught me by surprise, and I really enjoyed it.
A strong, character-driven story that is perfect for anyone who enjoys a slower-paced thriller with a strong backbone of emotion and messy humanity.
About the Author:
Erik Therme has thrashed in garage bands, inadvertently harbored runaways, and met Darth Vader. When he’s not at his computer, he can be found cheering on his youngest daughter’s volleyball team, or watching horror movies with his oldest. He currently resides in Iowa City, Iowa—one of only twenty-eight places in the world that UNESCO has certified as a City of Literature. Join Erik’s mailing list to be notified of new releases and author giveaways: http://eepurl.com/cD1F8L
If you’ve read it, or read it in the future, please feel free to shout at me about this fantastic book.