by Holly Seddon
Genres: Suspense Thriller
Purchase*: Amazon *affiliate
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.
Another great review 🙂 I also liked this one. I agree with you about being initially disgusted with the protagonist. I didn’t think I’d ever like her, but as the story progressed, I also felt sorry for her situation.
Yes, which goes to the author’s writing ability. I was soon rooting for her.
It happens. I have been craving suspense myself.
I wasn’t a big fan of this one but I can see why it has a lot of appeal! I’m just looking for something more in suspense lately and can’t see to find it! Glad you liked this one and great review!!
I loved this one! The mystery behind Amy was great but I think I was even more fascinated by Alex and her ability to cope as a somewhat functioning alcoholic. Her rituals and justifications to herself were fascinating to read & I too was really rooting for her to get it together, by the end I just adored her 🙂
I am so glad you loved it Jen. I thought the author did a brilliant job and both threads captivated me.
I want to know who did it! This does sound really good, I hadn’t heard of it before now.
I am the same, I always need to solve the mystery!
Tyler H. Jolley
Flashbacks can be really tricky to write without being obvious or tedious. Hats off to Seddon for pull it off seamlessly.
It really worked well Tyler even the chapters with her in a coma worked.
The Bibliophile Babe
What an interesting premise!
It really was.
Good to see that throughout the story you grew to like Alex. It sounds like an addictive read. You have me intrigued about the multiple perspectives.
Thanks Naomi, she did a great job of pulling the reader in.
Sounds like a great read on a rainy day! Thanks for the post.
Yes perfect for rain or snow!
OMG, this one is on my capsule shelf, and I’m so glad it works for you! I’ve been checking for early orders from library every day but so far, nothing. 🙁 I may end up just ordering the book for myself instead of waiting.
I hope you enjoy it as much as I did Kathy. It was well done 🙂
Seems very chilling. I love psycho-thrillers, but I can’t read a lot of them at the same time. Remember, I’m paranoid. I’m gonna add this to my “maybe” list. Great review!
LOL, I can read them, just don’t ask me to watch them!
Lover Of Romance
oh this one sounds really interesting, I especially like the idea of multiple perspectives. Must really make for some depth you don’t get normally.
It really worked getting the flashbacks 🙂
Sounds like it was a good thriller for you. Really different premise with a functioning alcoholic as the main character. Glad you liked it even if you figured it out early 😉
Yes. I do like flawed characters 🙂
This sounds different! The mystery of what happened to Amy sounds really interesting and something I would enjoy and through in the complexities of Alex and the fact that this is just a solid mystery and there’s no way I can resist!
I wanted to know what happened to her, and Alex and the science-fiction/medical aspect really added to the tale.
You’re in a thriller bender and a good streak at that! This sounds like another winner
When my Dad died, it was all I could read, so I devoured a bunch of thrillers.
Wow! This sounds SO GOOD! I love a good thriller. I definitely will be adding this one to my to read list. Thanks!
Enjoy. I have been having a good time reading them.
Sounds interesting for sure, and the alcoholic detective certainly adds another layer. I always love a good thriller that just sucks you in.
I do too Heidi, and this was quite good 🙂
I have been ogling this one, and your fantastic review makes me want to add it to my stacks…now! Thanks!
Glad I could help. I look forward to your thoughts on it.
I’ve been wondering about this one. Now, you’ve completely sold me on it. I love a good a thriller and this one sounds like it has a few interesting plot devices.
I enjoyed this one and hope you do as well.
Glad the flashbacks and different perspectives worked well for the story and actually added to it, that doesn’t always happen. Great review Kim!
The way it was done worked really well Ali 🙂
That is an interesting situation with the functioning alcoholic acting as detective and getting the story through flashbacks.
Good to know that the storytelling is so good that it doesn’t matter that you figured it out and still were vested to the finish.
The characters were very realistic and I appreciated that 🙂
Thanks for the recommendation. I can’t wait to read it. 🙂
Anna from elements of emaginette
This is the second good review of Try Not to Breathe I’ve seen, Kimberly. It sounds very well done, particularly in that Seddon was able to make you feel compassion for a character that repulsed you in the beginning. I also like a good thriller and I’m very curious about Alex’s journey in solving the mystery surrounding Amy and maybe also learns something about herself. Lovely review, my friend!
I have been craving this type of book lately, and it really was well executed.
This sounds like a great book! I will definitely be checking it out.
Love when an author can make me change my opinion of a character over the course of a book Kim! I’m glad Alex became someone you could really root for by the end, she definitely sounds like a tricky character in the beginning:)
Me too Jenny, it is always wonderful when the author allows me to understand and connect.
I usually figure things out early on, but I’m glad you had such a great time with the read despite that. This is a new title to me and since I like psychological thrillers, I’ll definitely keep it in mind 🙂
I am not alone then, but yes I needed to understand the how and why.
This is the kind of story where I couldn’t help but cheer for Alex and pray for a happy/satisfying ending for her. Alcoholism is such a terrible burden and so complex, I don’t wish that on anyone. The story sounds fantastic!
It really is, but she was in denial a lot and that made me mad.
I like Thrillers and haven’t read enough of them. It’s great that you enjoyed it even if you figured everything out early on.
I wonder if this will be on audio, with the right narrators it would be a fantastic listen.
Ooo well, doesn’t THIS sound interesting. At first I wasn’t sure if I’d want to read about her struggle, but the whole thing with the mystery sounds pretty good!
It was well crafted Christy. I could see you enjoying this.
I always like a good thriller and it’s nice to see you found one like that! I’ll have to keep it in mind
I enjoy them too Melliane and have been craving them lately.