Try Not to Breathe by Holly Seddon

February 23rd, 2016 kimbacaffeinate Review 60 Comments

23rd Feb
Try Not to Breathe by Holly Seddon
Try Not to Breathe
by Holly Seddon
Published by: Random House
Genres: Suspense thriller
Source: Publisher
Purchase: Amazon | B&N
Goodreads
Rating: One StarOne StarOne StarOne Star

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

mystery SUSPENSE twisted WTF?

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.

About Holly Seddon

Holly Seddon

Holly Seddon was born and raised in the sleepy south-west of England and now lives slap bang in the centre of Amsterdam with her husband and four children. Throughout her 15-year career, Holly has been privileged to work in some of the UK’s most exciting newsrooms. TRY NOT TO BREATHE is her first novel, published in the UK (Corvus/Atlantic), Australia and New Zealand (Allen & Unwin) and The Netherlands (Ambo Anthos) in January 2016. Soon after, it will be available in the US (Ballantine/Penguin Random House), Germany (Heyne), Russia (Sindbad), Swiat Ksiazk (Poland and, Crown (Taiwan). Holly is currently writing her next novel.

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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About Kimberly
Kimberly is a coffee loving book addict who reads and listens to fictional stories in all genres. She's a self-professed Whovian, as well as a Supernatural, and Sherlock Holmes junkie, She enjoys sharing books, tips, recipes and hosting the Sunday Post. The coffee is always on and she is ready to chat... Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

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60 Responses to “Try Not to Breathe by Holly Seddon”

  1. Kristin

    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!

  2. Silvia

    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 🙂

    Silvia recently posted: Don't you forget about '80s
  3. Jenny

    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:)

  4. Bookworm Brandee

    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!

    Bookworm Brandee recently posted: Review ~ Hunting Ground ~ Patricia Briggs
  5. Sophia Rose

    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.

    Sophia Rose recently posted: Fighting Dirty by Lori Foster #Review
  6. Katherine

    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!

    Katherine recently posted: Top Ten Books Out Of My Comfort Zone
  7. 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.

  8. Jen

    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 🙂