Book Review: Try Not to Breathe by Holly Seddon

Posted February 23, 2016 by @Angelized_1st in Books, COYER Going Back to Basics, Entertainment, Reading Challenges / 2 Comments

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review: Try Not to Breathe by Holly SeddonTry Not to Breathe by Holly Seddon
Published by Random House Publishing Group on February 23rd 2016
Genres: Fiction, Psychological, Contemporary Women
Pages: 368
Format: eBook
Source: Publisher
ISBN: 9781101885864
Buy on: AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooks

For fans of Gillian Flynn, Laura Lippman, and Paula Hawkins comes Holly Seddon's arresting fiction debut--an engrossing thriller full of page-turning twists and turns, richly imagined characters, and gripping psychological suspense.  

Some secrets never die. They're just locked away.  

Alex Dale is lost. Destructive habits have cost her a marriage and a journalism career. All she has left is her routine: a morning run until her body aches, then a few hours of forgettable work before the past grabs hold and drags her down. Every day is treading water, every night is drowning. Until Alex discovers Amy Stevenson. Amy Stevenson, who was just another girl from a nearby town until the day she was found unconscious after a merciless assault. Amy Stevenson, who has been in a coma for fifteen years, forgotten by the world. Amy Stevenson, who, unbeknownst to her doctors, remains locked inside her body, conscious but paralyzed, reliving the past.  

Soon Alex's routine includes visiting hours at the hospital, then interviews with the original suspects in the attack. But what starts as a reporter's story becomes a personal obsession. How do you solve a crime when the only witness lived but cannot tell the tale? Unable to tear herself away from her attempt to uncover the unspeakable truth, Alex realizes she's not just chasing a story--she's seeking salvation.  

Shifting from present to past and back again, Try Not to Breathe unfolds layer by layer until its heart-stopping conclusion. The result is an utterly immersive, unforgettable debut.  

Holly Sheldon’s Try Not to Breathe is the first book I’ve read for the 2016 Reading England challenge, as this mystery, suspense story takes place largely in Kent. The story centers around journalist Alex Dale’s quest to solve the cold case of coma patient Amy Stevenson. When Amy was fifteen, she was abducted, strangled, beaten, and left for dead. Her assailant was never caught. Having lost everything to alcoholism, Alex Dale stumbles upon Amy at a local hospital, and believes solving Amy’s case is her way back. Gripping, suspenseful, and well-written, Try Not to Breathe keeps you interested in what happened to Amy right up to the big reveal.

I really enjoyed his Seddon unraveled Amy’s mystery. The novel is told in two different time periods. On through the present, and one from the day of the crime, slowly inching towards the attacker’s unmasking. Alex and Jake, Amy’s boyfriend’s, point of view takes readers through the investigation. From the beginning of Alex’s first encounter with Amy, and right up through the epilogue. While we learn what’s become of Amy today, readers get a glimpse at the events that led to Amy’s attack via Amy’s flashbacks.

Aside from the way the story is told, I thought the characters were very well-developed. Both Alex and Jake are very flawed characters who aren’t the most reliable narrators, but ones you still want to come out on top. As the two get closer and closer to unveiling Amy’s attacker’s identity, you can’t help but wonder if they’ll end up the next victim. This notion keeps the mystery suspenseful from beginning to end. I really enjoyed this novel, and would recommend it to readers looking for a well-written suspense story. I tried over, and over again to figure it out, and still ended up surprised. When none of the characters are reliable narrators, it adds to the mystery, and allows readers to play detective right along the characters.

About 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.


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2 responses to “Book Review: Try Not to Breathe by Holly Seddon

    • @Angelized_1st

      I was pleasantly surprised. I’ve never read anything like this before. Pretty neat concept.

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