“Not all secrets can be buried.”
Happy publication day to Alice Blanchard, A Breath After Drowning is out in paperback today! I’m delighted to be hosting the publication day blog tour stop, and sharing my review with you all.
Sixteen years ago, Kate Wolfe’s young sister Savannah was brutally murdered. Forced to live with the guilt of how her own selfishness put Savannah in harm’s way, Kate was at least comforted by the knowledge that the man responsible was behind bars. But when she meets a retired detective who is certain that Kate’s sister was only one of many victims of a serial killer, Kate must face the possibility that Savannah’s murderer walks free. Unearthing disturbing family secrets in her search for the truth, Kate becomes sure that she has discovered the depraved mind responsible for so much death. But as she hunts for a killer, a killer is hunting her…
The blurb for this novel is intriguing, but let me tell you, this novel is so much better than the blurb would have you believe. A Breath After Drowning is a slow burner – the mystery doesn’t fully take centre stage until the second half of the novel, but there are elements of intrigue laced throughout the first half. What this synopsis doesn’t tell you is that Kate is, in fact, Dr Kate Wolfe, child psychiatrist, and we get this interesting opening of her working with one of her patients. This theme of mental illness was unexpected, but very welcomed. Kate’s partner, James, is also a psychiatrist, and they made for a great fictional couple. Dealing with patients in various states of ill health, they had this great humour that they shared to release some of the pressures of the job.
A Breath After Drowning is a psychological thriller, but the plot is vey much mystery-orientated; you do get your thrills, but they come later in the novel, and probably the only time the pace really picks up. Blanchard managed to surprise me several times in this novel, spinning events that I never imagined. There was one small part of the mystery I was able to see way ahead of time and it bugged me that Kate couldn’t see it too, but overall, I couldn’t figure this mystery out – I changed my mind several times on who Kate should and shouldn’t trust. This mystery is cleverly put together, everything fits, and I found this to be an addictive read.
There is another blurb for this novel, and it’s much more detailed than the one above, so I’d suggest avoiding all blurbs, if you can, and just read the book, because the less you know going in, the more surprises you get along the way.
The tone and themes of this novel are dark, and get progressively darker as you turn the pages; and the plot is infused with several unsettling moments. As this novel doesn’t move at a fast-pace, you get the continuously slow-building suspense, that anticipation, that draws you in to all that’s going on.
I highly recommend A Breath After Drowning, particularly to fans of slow-burners and psychological dramas.
*My thanks to Titan Books for providing me with a copy of this book and inviting me to participate in the blog tour*
Alice Blanchard won the Katherine Anne Porter Prize for Fiction for her book of stories, The Stuntman’s Daughter. Her first novel, Darkness Peering was named one of the New York Times Book Review’s Notable Books. Her second novel, The Breathtaker was an official selection of the NBC Today Book Club. Alice has received a PEN Syndicated Fiction Award, a New Letters Literary Award and a Centrum Artists in Residence Fellowship.
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