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Since We Fell by Dennis Lehane

BOTTOM LINE: Now this is what a thriller should be!

Genre: Psychological Suspense
Publication Date: 9 May 2017
Source: Publisher via Edelweiss

Synopsis from the Publisher:

Since We Fell follows Rachel Childs, a former journalist who, after an on-air mental breakdown, now lives as a virtual shut-in. In all other respects, however, she enjoys an ideal life with an ideal husband. Until a chance encounter on a rainy afternoon causes that ideal life to fray. As does Rachel’s marriage. As does Rachel herself. Sucked into a conspiracy thick with deception, violence, and possibly madness, Rachel must find the strength within herself to conquer unimaginable fears and mind-altering truths. By turns heart- breaking, suspenseful, romantic, and sophisticated, Since We Fell is a novel of profound psychological insight and tension. It is Dennis Lehane at his very best.”

My Thoughts: From its fabulous opening sentence to its chilling and yet hopeful final one, Dennis Lehane’s latest thriller is the epitome of a compulsively readable story. Rachel’s story is a twisty tale of betrayal and love that really does leave readers guessing all the way to the very end. Also, Mr. Lehane takes his time establishing his characters so that when the action takes off, readers know them well enough to add an additional layer of interest to the story.

In truth, the deliberateness with which Mr. Lehane develops Rachel is one of the story’s best features. He does not rush into the action but allows it to build naturally as Rachel asks each new question. Even better, Rachel is not a one-dimensional character with minimal backstory and little development. She is a rich, deeply defined character that readers intimately know. We see her love/hate relationship with her mother, the hole in her life that is her missing father. We see her career take off; we see her first marriage blossom and fail. We watch her spectacular breakdown on national television, and we see her attempt to build herself up again after her very public downfall. We know her motivations, her passions, her fears, her worries. By the time her second husband enters the picture there is nothing we don’t know about her, and the story is better for it.

As for the story itself, that is one better discovered for oneself. Mr. Lehane does a fantastic job presenting clues that you recognize as clues but that only make sense in hindsight. He also skillfully keeps the plot a complete surprise while minimizing the use of plot twists. Since We Fell is a thinking person’s thriller – erudite and thoughtful as well as intense and entertaining – and would make a great summer read or book club selection.

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