I’m excited that, starting in late 2017 and 2018, I’m reading more mysteries and thrillers. I’ve found some great ones, and some that were less of a hit for me. In the case of this book, a comparison to Big Little Lies and Stranger Things was … a bit of a stretch. Read my review of If I Die Tonight below!
To be published on March 6, 2018 by William Morrow
Source: eARC from publisher for possible review
Synopsis (adapted from Goodreads:) Reminiscent of the bestsellers of Laura Lippman and Harlan Coben—with a dose of Big Little Lies or Stranger Things—an absorbing, addictive tale of psychological suspense. Late one night in the quiet Hudson Valley town of Havenkill, a distraught woman stumbles into the police station—and lives are changed forever. Aimee En, once a darling of the ’80s pop music scene, claims that a teenage boy stole her car, then ran over another young man who’d rushed to help. As a boy’s life hangs in the balance, the events of that fateful night begin to come into focus. But is everything as it seems?
The case quickly consumes social media.Told from a kaleidoscope of viewpoints, If I Die Tonight is a story of family ties and dark secrets—and the lengths we’ll go to protect ourselves.
My review of If I Die Tonight:
There were things I did like and appreciate about If I Die Tonight. First, that it was a book that looked at life and parenting in the internet age. A main character in the story is a single mother with two sons, one in high school and one in middle school. She watches her sons glued to their phones and feels like she’s lost all connection to them. There’s also a lonely female police officer who uses Tinder to meet guys, and a former 80s singer who witnessed the accident. Plus other teen characters who are included through social media postings. I thought the story did a good job of showing how social media both unites and divides us, and how fake and unhelpful it can be in the face of a tragedy like this.
If I Die Tonight was a mystery of sorts – the story starts off with a hit and run accident and the book gives you bits and pieces about how each character was involved. The narrative switches around from the POV of the mom to each of her sons to the police officer to the witness of the hit and run.
I really wish the story had evoked more tension and suspense. Yes, the hit and run was a tragedy, but from the get-go it also seemed like a tragic accident, not murder. I felt mildly curious about the circumstances, but I didn’t find any of it compelling as I would have liked. I kept reading just to find out the ending (was tempted to just skip ahead and peek, but I didn’t.) I thought the wrap-up was fairly strong, but it felt like a long time getting there.
Despite the fact that the story and its characters were well-written, I just didn’t feel much connection to or investment in any of it. I should have – I’m a parent of teens and think a LOT about the ways technology has made their lives so different from mine. It’s possible that this book had too many POV characters for me, or that the whole story had an air of detachment that kept me at an emotional distance.
I’d never heard of this author or read any of her books before this one, but I did see some reviewers on Goodreads say that they prefer her earlier books. So I’m definitely open to checking those out to see if they use a different narrative format, because this one was a bit of a miss for me.
Have you read this or any of this author’s other books? Let me know in comments! Do you have the same issue I do with multiple narrators?