Try Not to Breathe

Author: Holly Seddon

Published By: Ballantine Books

Reviewed by Melissa Minners

                What would you do if you were close to hitting rock bottom?  Could anything drag you from the brink?  Could something that has nothing to do with you...something that has happened to a complete stranger...give you the strength to turn your life around?  In Holly Seddon's Try Not to Breathe, that's the very question Alex Dale must ask herself.

                Alex Dale was once a respected journalist, writing two columns for a well-known paper and happily married to a police officer.  But an old friend kept coming back, begging for more attention, until all of the attention it was given put a wedge between her and all she held dear.  That friend - a liquor bottle.  Alex's struggles with alcohol began young, but became ever more problematic as she got older, causing her to lose her marriage and even her job.

                Now, a freelance writer, Alex is just trying to make a few bucks writing an article about the new advances being made with comatose patients in a local hospital.  A visit to the ward brings her in contact with someone she recognized - Amy Stevenson.  Amy had been in all of the papers and on all of the television news spots when Alex was a teenager.  At the age of fifteen, Amy had gone missing, only to turn up close to death in a park a couple of days later.  Her attacker was never caught and Amy has been in a coma for fifteen years.

                Seeing Amy in the hospital and knowing that her abduction and near-death is still a mystery stirs something in Alex.  She finds that she can't walk away from Amy and the idea of getting justice for this woman whose case has gone cold.  Alex uses what she has learned about communicating with comatose patients from her previous article idea to work on a new one.  She is going to bring Amy's attacker closer to justice...and Amy is going to help her.

                Meanwhile, one of Amy's frequent visitors must find a way to move on with his life.  Former boyfriend and once suspect, Jacob, has tried to move forward.  He is married and expecting his first child, but somehow can't separate himself from his first love.  Hampered by the lack of closure in Amy's case, Jacob has been keeping his visits with her a secret, causing a rift in his marriage that threatens to tear it apart.

                Can the discovery of the monster behind Amy's attack bring closure to Jacob and a new lease on life for Alex?  Will Amy be able to communicate with Alex enough to identify her attacker?

                I can't believe that Try Not to Breathe is Holly Seddon's first novel!  I was mesmerized by the mystery behind Amy's attack and couldn't put the book down.  Seddon has woven a tapestry of likeable characters, an interesting storyline and a bit of medical miracle to create a ride well-worth taking.  The story of Amy is told through the eyes of Amy herself, flashing back while in her comatose state, Alex's investigation and Jacob's memories, so you get a multidimensional view of the mystery.  And the author keeps you snared, only allowing snippets of information at a time, keeping you hanging until the very end.  I thought I knew the identity of the attacker early on, but plot twists had me second guessing myself on numerous occasions.  Though the science behind the story may be a tad flawed, the idea was intriguing enough to keep the reader hoping for a good ending to Amy's tale.  Amy's being the reason behind Alex's getting her life back on track was a terrific storyline.

                I found Try Not to Breathe to be a captivating and enjoyable thriller and I can't wait to read more from this talented author.   


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