Firstly I would like to thank Holly Seddon for the opportunity to read this in exchange for my honest review.
‘How terrible to have no voice,’ said Alex, as she took scribbled notes and swayed, nauseated, amongst the electric hum of the hospital ward.
Since the tender age of fifteen, Amy Stevenson has lain comatose in a hospital bed, the victim of a vicious attack which left her nearly dead. Her attacker has never been found. Amy’s family gave up on her long ago and her only visitor is Jacob Arlington, her boyfriend from high school, who is now married and with a child on the way. Jacob visits Amy in secret, when his wife, Fiona, isn’t around to catch him doing so. Jacob has never quite been able to bring himself to discuss Amy with her.
Alex Dale has been assigned to write an article on Dr Haynes, the eminent neurologist who works on Amy’s ward. When Alex hears Amy’s story, it strikes a chord with her. Alex and Amy are the same age. Whereas Amy’s life has been brutally taken from her, Alex has been struggling to face hers, choosing to drink away what little life she has left. Writing about these patients is about all Alex can manage—if she can even manage that.
When Alex hears that doctors have recently discovered Amy isn’t actually brain dead and is able to communicate in a primitive way, Alex feels a sense of duty towards Amy. Perhaps by learning more about Amy, Alex can shed new light on the case. After all, Amy couldn’t possibly be the only victim. But will Alex manage to solve the crime before her own weakness overcomes her, and if she does, will anyone bother to listen to her?
We are all equally vulnerable to what life throws at us, it’s how we behave in the circumstances that matters. And Seddon’s prose behaves beautifully given her challenging subject matter and multiple narrative viewpoints. I thoroughly enjoyed this novel and shall look forward to reading whatever Seddon chooses to write next.
Try Not to Breathe by Holly Seddon is published by Corvus (Atlantic). It is available from Amazon UK now.
It is released in the US/Canada on 23rd February 2016, where it is available for pre-order.
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