If I Die Before I Wake
by Emily Koch
Published: January 11th 2018 by Harvill Secker
Genre: Adult Mystery
In a Flutter: Heartbreaking
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.
Worldbuilding: Bristol setting, though the real setting is Alex’s body, actually. Which might be one of the weirdest things I’ve ever wrote in this section, lol.
Characters: ALex is a 30yo guy – a reporter – with locked-in syndrome after a climbing accident. The idea of living like that for however long is terrifying, to be honest. It’s fascinating to get to know him as he recalls events of his life, though the wonky timeline is a bit annoying to me. But it helps empathize with Alex all the more. I liked him a lot, and my heart went out to him.
It was hard to decide what I thought about Bea. There was something a bit weird about her, and I had some suspicions and I Won’t tell you how that ended, mwahahaha!
Plot: The mystery being solved by the victim is pretty gripping. My suspect was the obvious one and I was wrong (which I rarely am). Good mystery about who pushed Alex. Also, I cried like hell at the end.
Writing: First person, past tense narrative. Loved the style and Alex’s voice.
Curb Appeal: Cool cover, very hooking blurb – impulsive buy material for my Mystery/Thriller needs.
I recommend If I Die Before I Wake to fans of out-of-the-box mysteries; but be advised, you need a strong heart, because this ending is heartbreaking. *sniffles*
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