by Holly Seddon
Genres: Suspense Thriller
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Amy 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
Try Not to Breathe by Holly Seddon was an interesting psychological thriller that shares the story of Alex Dale a young journalist who battles alcoholism. In Try Not to Breathe, Seddon delivered a suspenseful thriller that kept me engaged.
Alex is a barely functioning alcoholic who lost a job most in her field would covet. It has destroyed her marriage and she battles daily to keep the monkey under control. In Try Not to Breathe, a coma patient with a tragic story becomes the catalyst for Alex.
During the school year of 1995, fifteen-year-old Amy Stevenson disappeared after school. She was later discovered left for dead in a field not far from her home. Since that time, Amy has been in a coma. A new study where doctors communicate with coma patients by watching their brain patterns brings Alex to the hospital for a freelance piece. When visiting the coma ward she sees Amy and remembers the case. Curiosity drives her to figure out what happened and Seddon took us on a suspenseful journey.
Try Not to Breathe is told from multiple perspective. Most are Alex, but we do get a few from Amy in the form of flashbacks and those of a few key characters. I felt the story unfolded rather well, and the different perspectives helped me piece together what happened. It is dark, gritty and felt completely plausible. The author did an excellent job of developing the characters. They had depth, their actions felt genuine and I became invested.
Seddon not only told a fantastic thriller but through her protagonist, she shared a glimpse into the life of a functioning alcoholic. We witnessed Alex’s daily struggles. The bargains she makes with herself and the unpleasant sides to the disease. It was brutally honest, and insightful. At first I was repulsed by Alex, but as the story unfolded, I felt compassion for her, admired her journalistic skills and was cheering her on as she began to piece together the mystery.
The author took us along with Alex as she interviews friends, family and suspects. Despite all of Alex’s issues, she really is quite the Nancy Drew. Along the way, she meets Jake, Amy’s childhood boyfriend and he begins to help her. Subtle clues, red herrings and intuition led to the big reveal. While I figured things out early on, it did not deter my enjoyment.
Try Not to Breathe is perfect for fans of noir, mystery, suspense and well spun tales.