Monthly Archives

January 2019

Book Review: FREEFALL by Jessica Barry

A woman opens her eyes at the start of Jessica Barry’s Freefall and realizes she’s just survived a plane crash in the Rockies. One might expect her to immediately find a way to signal or call for help, but the woman, Allison, doesn’t do that.

She smashes her phone.

It soon becomes clear she’s being pursued by someone with deadly intentions, and the last thing she wants is to be tracked or found. Though injured and lacking food and supplies, Allison sets out to get off the mountain and save herself.

Back in Maine, Allison’s mother, Maggie, has received the worst news of her life. Her daughter was on a plane that crashed, and while Allison’s body hasn’t been recovered, no one could’ve survived. The pilot is dead, and the press is reporting that Allison is, too.

But Maggie hangs on to hope that Allison is alive, and after she digs more into the crash and the reason Allison was on the plane, Maggie believes her hunch is correct. So why hasn’t Allison contacted her–or anyone–to say she survived?

As Freefall alternates between the two women’s points of view and the past and present, it combines Allison’s suspenseful fight for survival with a mother’s faith in her daughter, something that refuses to be extinguished even when situations turn dire.

Pacing is fast, and Allison is resourceful without turning into a superhero. Freefall stumbles in the climactic scene when Maggie makes a head-scratching, illogical choice, but it’s one quibble in an otherwise riveting thriller.

Buy it now

A version of this review appeared in Shelf Awareness for Readers. It’s republished here with permission.

PCN is an Amazon affiliate and could earn a small commission if a purchase is made via the link.


Book Review: WATCHING YOU by Lisa Jewell

This book was one of my favorites of 2018! It squeaked in as a late-December entry. This review originally appeared in Shelf Awareness for Readers and is republished here with permission.

“Dear diary, I think I’m in love with my English teacher.”

With that opener, Lisa Jewell signals that Watching You will be unsettling, and when the prologue follows with a dead body in a pool of blood, this feeling is confirmed. The identity of the body is not revealed right away, as Jewell goes back three months to introduce all the characters in this twisty psychological drama.

Joey is a young newlywed who has just moved with her husband, Alfie, into her brother’s house in Melville Heights, a ritzy section in Bristol, England. Jack insists both he and his wife, Rebecca, love having Joey and Alfie there. Joey isn’t so sure, since Rebecca seems to avoid her.

Joey develops an instant case of lust for a neighbor, Tom, headmaster at the local school. He’s married and has a teenage son, Freddie, who sits in the upstairs bedroom window and photographs his neighbors and people in the street.

At Tom’s school is a student named Jenna who suspects she’s crossed paths with him somewhere else, years before he came to run her school. But where? And does her best friend, Bess, have a crush on him?

Watching You can be applied to all these people, who are all obsessed with someone. Jewell excels in creating complex characters, building tension and keeping readers in the dark yet riveted until the “Aha!” moments. Some situations don’t end well, but this thriller unfolds and concludes in a very satisfying way.

Buy it now

PCN is an Amazon affiliate and could earn a small commission if you make a purchase via the link.