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Monday, December 31, 2018

Loosey-Goosey Structure Makes New Thriller Not So Thrilling

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

When her fiancé's private plane crashes in the Colorado Rockies, 31-year-old Allison Carpenter is left alone on a remote mountaintop.  With little food, no shelter, and no way to communicate with the outside world, she must figure out how to survive.  It's not just the elements that are plotting against her—she's harboring an explosive secret that powerful men would kill to keep under wraps.  

Maggie Carpenter hasn't seen or talked to her only child in two years.  When she receives the news that Allison is presumed dead after a plane crash, the widow is filled with sorrow and remorse.  Also a niggling hope.  Allison's remains have not been recovered.  Although everyone urges her to accept the fact that her daughter is dead, Maggie refuses to give up.  After finding some disturbing information about the life Allison's been leading in the years since Maggie saw her, Maggie starts digging into her daughter's secret past.  What she discovers convinces Maggie that her daughter's "death" was no accident.  

In a desperate race to save themselves and each other, both women will have to use all their strength and tenacity to get to the bottom of a disturbing conspiracy that its perpetrators will do anything to keep quiet.

Told from dual perspectives, Freefall by Jessica Barry (available January 8, 2019) is an adrenaline-fueled page turner that kept me riveted despite the novel's loosey-goosey construction.  The plot gets cliché and melodramatic while not making a lot of logical sense.  I saw its big twists coming from too far away.  Allison is difficult to relate to—her cash-centric decisions make little sense and leave her looking like a greedy, self-centered gold digger.  Although I did want to know how this novel ended, overall it didn't feel like a very satisfying read.  I wanted a tighter, more sensical plot; better developed characters; and some surprising twists to keep the story fresh.  Maybe next time.

(Readalikes:  Hm, I can't really think of anything.  You?)


If this were a movie, it would be rated:

for strong language, violence, blood/gore, sexual content, depictions of illegal drug use, and disturbing subject matter

To the FTC, with love:  I received an ARC of Freefall from the generous folks at HarperCollins.  Thank you!

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