Tuesday 27 March 2018

If I Die Tonight - A.L. Gaylin

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?

What did I think?

I didn't plan to read If I Die Tonight in one sitting, but once I started it, I simply couldn't put it down.  The prologue hooked me immediately with a Facebook post from 17 year old Wade that tells the reader 'By the time you read this, I'll be dead.'  This suicide post was so sad and heartfelt that I just had to devour every single page to find out how Wade was left feeling this way.

Wade's post mentioned 'memory gifts' and I thought that was such a beautiful way to refer to a special memory.  One that we treasure so much that we wrap it up, tie it with a ribbon and store it in a special part of our brain until we're feeling low and need to unwrap the gift to rediscover our happy feelings from that time.  I'm going to remember that description (no pun intended).

Wade's schoolfriend, Liam Miller, was killed in an apparent car-jacking.  The only witness is the car's owner: a has-been rock star, Aimee-En, who seems to be hiding something.  Wade is also acting suspiciously and it's noticed by his Mom, Jackie and younger brother, Connor.  When Wade can't account for his whereabouts on the night Liam was killed, even Jackie starts to think that Wade might be guilty.  Mob mentality goes into overdrive when the townsfolk pick up on Wade's lack of alibi and they delight in finding someone to blame.  The reader is a little more forgiving as they are allowed to piece together all of the pieces of the puzzle before the truth is revealed.

I found it so interesting to see how easily people jump to conclusions.  I'm not saying I'm never guilty of this, but most of the time I do tend to look for all of the facts before making a decision - it's probably because I have read so many crime books!  The book also highlighted the effects of social media and how people can be so vicious when hiding behind a screen.

There are a lot of characters in If I Die Tonight so I sometimes found it confusing and didn't know who was who.  I picked up the main characters easily enough but sometimes had to flick back over the pages when a minor character reappeared.  That's the only real criticism I had but it's what makes this addictive and suspenseful book a four star rather than a five star read for me. 

I chose to read an ARC and this is my honest and unbiased opinion.

My rating:

Buy it from Amazon

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