Great start but then went downhill for me


Since We Fell by Dennis Lehane

Book Review:  3 out of 5 stars

When Rachel Childs was a journalist, she encountered an extremely bad side of human nature. As a result of the trauma, she has a breakdown and virtually becomes a recluse, afraid of people.  Her husband, Brian, has the patience of a saint and lovingly tries to help her break through her fears.  I can’t really go any further with the plot in fear of writing spoilers.

The beginning of this book is 5 star, with Mr. Lehane’s usual expertise in bringing his characters to life and finding a place for them in your heart.   I was completely engrossed in the story, knowing that “something” was going to happen to change things and dreading it because, in spite of Rachel’s agoraphobia, the marriage between Brian and Rachel was so strong and loving.  When the change came, it was completely unexpected and the author began to lose me.  The book veers off from being a heartfelt novel about a woman struggling with her demons to an action thriller.  The changes of character in both Rachel and Brian just didn’t ring true to me, though I was still engrossed in the story.  What bothered me most about the second part of the book was the author’s seeming efforts to justify the characters’ actions while trying to get you to still like and respect them.  His efforts didn’t work with me and the longer I had contact with these characters, the less I believed in them.

It seems to me that this book was written more as a movie script and I’ve read that the movie rights to the book have already been snatched up. I grabbed this book because of the author and his phenomenal “Mystic River” and “Shutter Island”.   I never looked into what the book was about.  Possibly if I had known it was a thriller before starting it, I would have been better prepared for the switch in gears.  With the beginning being such a beautiful character study of a damaged woman, I truly wish the author had chosen to continue in that line.  I still enjoyed the book but what started as outstanding turned into just OK.

This book was given to me by the publisher in return for an honest review.



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