Nine months ago, Tess’s five-year-old daughter was killed in a car accident. The driver, Brady Becker, was sentenced to two years in prison. It didn’t make Tess’s pain go away.

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Brady also has a daughter: A twelve-year-old named Eve who walks to Chandler Elementary School every day. Tess knows this because she’s been watching Eve for the last three weeks. It isn’t fair that Brady’s daughter gets to live, while Tess’s daughter does not.

When Eve goes missing, all eyes turn to Tess, who doesn’t have an alibi. But Tess isn’t guilty.

Or so she believes.

My Review

I literally sat down and read this straight through over two days. And even though I was so frustrated at time by Tess’s choices, I just couldn’t stop reading. The writing is amazing.

Tess’s grief is insurmountable. I cannot imagine how I would feel in her place – I am sure I would be exactly the same. I would want to sit and die. It’s nine months since Lily was killed by a drunk driver – Brady Becker. A very short time to try and get her life back to normal. Her husband Josh has gone back to work and wants Tess to get counselling, look for a job. But she has other ideas. Every day she sits in the JoKat cafe opposite the apartment where Brady’s wife Meg and daughter Eve live and watches Eve walk to school.

But this is not a story just about Tess’s grief or about the problems in her marriage. It is not unusual for couples to separate after a tragic event such as this and you can see why. Tess and Josh appear to have no common ground when it comes to dealing with their loss. Josh decided they should sell their beloved home in Newton with all its memories and move just down the road to Harlow (where he was born), but Tess hates the mouldy, ramshackle house. He just doesn’t get it. He wants the Old Tess back, but it’s not going to happen if he doesn’t understand.

When Lily died they received a massive insurance payout. To Tess it’s dirty money. Josh even bought a new Jeep which she refuses to ride in. Being in the UK I don’t even understand why they took out insurance on their child’s life but I guess it’s all part of private health insurance, which very few people have here.

But in spite of my total sympathy for Tess, I struggled with her constant lies to her husband about everything she does. He doesn’t even know that she visits the cemetery almost every day. I understand that she cannot open up because her grief is too raw, but she makes some very strange choices right through the book.

Then her brother Colin turns up out of the blue. He hasn’t been in contact since before Lily’s death and Josh is furious. Colin had his reasons, but in this case I’m with Josh. I can’t really say any more.

But as I said before, this is not just about grief and marital problems. A huge twist turns everything on its head when Eve goes missing and Tess is the obvious suspect. If She Dies is now a thriller and a race against time. Where is Eve and who has her? You’ll have to read the book to find out and I challenge you to guess. I certainly didn’t.

Beautifully written and full of emotion.

Many thanks to @damppebbles for inviting me to be part of #damppebblesblogtours

About the Author

Erik Therme has thrashed in garage bands, inadvertently harboured runaways, and met Darth Vader. When he’s not at his computer, he can be found cheering on his youngest daughter’s volleyball team, or watching horror movies with his oldest. He currently resides in Iowa City, Iowa—one of only twenty-eight places in the world that UNESCO has certified as a City of Literature. Join Erik’s mailing list to be notified of new releases and author giveaways:

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1 Comment on “If She Dies (Harlow Series #1) by Erik Therme

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