“HOW DO YOU SOLVE YOUR OWN MURDER?
Everyone believes Alex is in a coma, unlikely to ever wake up. As his family debate withdrawing life support, and his friends talk about how his girlfriend Bea needs to move on, he can only listen.
But Alex soon begins to suspect that the accident that put him here wasn’t really an accident. Even worse, the perpetrator is still out there and Alex is not the only one in danger.
As he goes over a series of clues from his past, Alex must use his remaining senses to solve the mystery of who tried to kill him, and try to protect those he loves, before they decide to let him go.
A stunning edge-of-your-seat debut novel with an unforgettable narrator.”
I finished reading If I Die Before I Wake a few days ago and I’m still bereft, still heartbroken. This haunting debut thriller will stay with me for some time, but do you know what? I nearly gave up on it! I’m not really one for discarding books part way through. Actually, I can probably count the number of books I have ‘DNF’d’ on one hand.
Regular readers of the blog will know that I am a) a crime fiction fan, b) I like character driven fiction and c) I like excitement and action, thrills and spills. When I started reading If I Die Before I Wake I suddenly started to question how the author was going to keep the story going for 320 pages. Alex, our main character, is in a coma and has been for a significant amount of time (18 months-ish). He has spells of being alert, able to see a little, able to smell, able to hear, able to taste the rubber of a gloved hand sponging out his mouth and able to feel. But he can’t move, can’t communicate. I didn’t instantly warm to Alex, or his girlfriend, Bea. As you would expect, the first few chapters of this book paint Alex’s rather dire situation for the reader. Alex is in a coma. His girlfriend visits, his family visits, his best mate visits. I was questioning whether it was worth continuing with Alex’s tale. He’d been in a coma for so long I couldn’t see him waking up anytime soon. What was going to happen? WELL! Let me tell you something. I persevered and oh my gosh, I am so glad I did.
You see, I fell a little bit in love with Alex. Koch has created some astonishingly good characters in If I Die Before I Wake. I’m not an emotional reader normally. I want blood, guts and gore, shedloads of action and a killer hook (not much to ask for, is it?). Since I started damppebbles I have cried twice whilst reading. It was twice, make that three times now. And I’m not ashamed to admit it was ugly crying. Snotty, sobby, traumatised, hiccuppy, heartbroken crying. Wow! Just WOW!! And to think I nearly put this book down. By the time I turned the last page there was so much I loved about this novel. It wasn’t just Alex I had fallen in love with. His poor dad made my heart melt, and despite being a bit of a nightmare, I also warmed to his sister, Philippa.
I’m excited to see what author Emily Koch gives us readers next. If this is the quality of her writing then us bookish types are in for a real treat!
Would I recommend this book? Absolutely! Yes, it’s a thrilling read which is incredibly clever as the main character never leaves his hospital bed (!) but it’s also a highly emotional tale which broke my heart. The author has excelled at making her reader feel the frustration Alex suffers on a daily basis. Absolutely flipping brilliant and a contender for my ‘books of 2018’ list!
Five out of five stars.
I chose to read and review an ARC of If I Die Before I Wake. The above review is my own unbiased opinion.
I was very lucky to receive two copies of If I Die Before I Wake from the publisher. Rather than have the spare sat on my bookshelf unread and unloved let’s have a giveaway! To be in with a chance to win one hardback copy of If I Die Before I Wake all you have to do is retweet the pinned tweet on my twitter profile and tag a friend you think would like to read this book. Retweet and tag, it’s that easy. UK/IRE only I’m afraid as it’s a hardback copy and will cost too much to send overseas. Giveaway closes on Saturday 20th January 2018 at midday (GMT). The winner will need to provide me with their address and there is no cash or eBook alternative. Good luck!
If I Die Before I Wake by Emily Koch was published in the UK by Harvill Secker on 11th January 2018 and is available in hardcover, eBook and audio formats (the following Amazon links are affiliate links) | amazon.co.uk | amazon.com | Waterstones | Goodreads |
I am an author and journalist living in Bristol, UK, and am represented by Peter Straus at Rogers, Coleridge and White. My debut novel If I Die Before I Wake is out now, published by Harvill Secker, an imprint of Penguin Random House.
Working with writer Alison Powell I am also a founding member of WriteClub – which runs regular creative writing events in Bristol. Check us out – whether you’re a published author or the last thing you wrote was a shopping list.
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with any queries.
Author image and bio © https://emilykoch.co.uk/