“There was a time when Jackie Reed knew her sons better than anyone. She used to be able to tell what they were thinking, feeling, if they were lying…
But it’s as though every day, every minute even, she knows them a little less. Her boys aren’t boys anymore, they’re becoming men – men she’s not sure she recognises, men she’s not sure she can trust.
So when one of her son’s classmates is killed in suspicious circumstances, people start asking questions.
Was it really a hit and run? A car-jacking gone wrong? Or something much more sinister?
Now Jackie must separate the truth from the lies.
How did that boy end up on the road?
And where was her son that night?”
It is my great pleasure to welcome you to the blog today as it’s my turn to host a stop on the If I Die Tonight blog tour. If I Die Tonight is the latest release from A.L. Gaylin and is published TODAY! Happy book birthday to both the author and the lovely folk at Arrow Publishing. I read and reviewed Gaylin’s What Remains of Me last year and was pretty smitten with it (and by the book’s lead, Kelly Lund). So when I heard A.L. Gaylin was about to release a suspenseful psychological thriller…well, I had to take a look!
Regular visitors to the blog will know that I am a big fan of crime thrillers set in small town America. If I Die Tonight is set in Havenkill, a small Hudson Valley town where little happens and that’s exactly how the residents like it. Except tragedy is heading to Havenkill in the form of a hit and run accident. When Liam Miller is tragically mown down one wet October night following a carjacking, all eyes fall on Jackie Reed’s eldest son, Wade. Wade is different to his classmates. He’s artistic, secretive and a bit of a loner with no friends to fight his corner. His younger brother, Connor is on his side though and will do anything Wade asks of him. Even dispose of a tied carrier bag in a dumpster at the local Lukoil. The same bag Wade had hidden in Connor’s closet the night of Liam’s accident. Jackie soon begins to realise that she doesn’t know her children anymore. That they have their own lives, their own secrets. It’s down to Jackie to clear Wade’s name before he’s arrested and made into the local pariah.
One of the things you can always guarantee with an A.L. Gaylin novel is GREAT characters. Some readers are all about the plot, others the setting. Personally, I’m all about the characters (and the plot and the setting!). Jackie Reed was someone I could immediately understand and relate to a little. She’s a working single mother, with little support from her ex-husband. What I liked most about Jackie though was her heart. There are times throughout the book when the reader is made to question Wade’s innocence. Jackie has a small wobble here and there but she’s pretty steadfast in her belief that her son is innocent. I loved that. I could feel her love and belief emanating from the page. There are a whole host of other brilliant characters in this story too (however, Jackie will remain my favourite!). I also really liked Jackie’s youngest son, Connor. Connor’s life changes when his friends suddenly start treating him differently. I can imagine how much this would hurt as an adult so I was interested to see where Gaylin would take the emotions of a young teen. He’s an admirable young man and I really liked him.
I was pleasantly surprised by one of the twists. I had convinced myself that I knew where the story was going but I was actually quite far off of the mark. The amount of suspicion in the pages of If I Die Tonight was really rather thrilling. I mentioned before how much I love books set in small town America and that’s because I love the claustrophobia and how the characters suddenly become suspicious of friends and family, always looking over their shoulders.
Would I recommend this book? Absolutely. I thoroughly enjoy Gaylin’s writing style, her characters are well written and more believable than most and it’s a GREAT plot, chock full of suspense. After reading two of this author’s books she is now firmly on my list of authors to keep an eye out for. Highly recommended.
Four and a half out of five stars.
I chose to read and review an ARC of If I Die Tonight. The above review is my own unbiased opinion. My thanks to Jasmine at Arrow Publishing for asking me to be part of the blog tour and for my ARC.
If I Die Tonight by A.L. Gaylin was published in the UK by Arrow Publishing, Penguin Random House on 24th August 2017 and is available in eBook format with the paperback available in December 2017 and the hardcover to follow next year | amazon.co.uk | amazon.com | Waterstones | Goodreads |
Alison Gaylin’s first job was as a reporter for a celebrity tabloid, which sparked a lifelong interest in writing about people committing despicable acts. More than a decade later, she wrote and published her Edgar-nominated first novel, HIDE YOUR EYES.
She’s since published eight more books, including the USA Today and international bestselling Brenna Spector suspense series, which has been nominated for the Edgar, Anthony and Thriller awards and won the Shamus award.
She lives in upstate New York with her husband, daughter, cat and dog.