TRY NOT TO BREATHE by Holly Seddon. Book Review

By | January 12, 2017

A semi cooked not so perfect psychological thriller. It has a dated, read somewhere kind of feel. Maybe, I have been suffering the after-effects of reading too much.

The plot is full of characters drawn together to fit a jigsaw puzzle. Pity, the readers complete it with many pieces yet to be picked.

It is a yo-yo narration. The story keeps jumping between the period after the incident, and the current follow-up. It is not a smooth ride, though it maintains a pattern at the end.

51ngervv8l-_sy344_bo1204203200_It is an intriguing weave of grey frames. Most of the time, Holly keeps you highly engaged. However, at lot many, like every other ‘suspect chasing investigative’ stories, playing the guessing game, she makes futile and hurried attempts to divert your attention. It keeps you glued to the story, hungrily flipping the pages. Most of the time she succeeds. Surprisingly, towards the end, when it matters the most, she fails to hold your attention.

It is a story of a young girl Amy, who is assaulted at the age of 15. She is left to be dead. The culprit is never caught. However, she is still alive in a vegetative state. She is in Coma. No one gives her a chance to come out of it

Alex, the alcoholic investigative journalist is visiting the hospital for some story on people in such state, when she sees Amy. She remembers the incident as she has grownup in the same area. She decides to make Amy’s story, her last story to redeem self. She finds Amy’s boyfriend Jacob, a willing help.

As expected, there are stories within stories, perspectives within perspectives. It is a story that for the two-third of the way keeps a strong grip on you. However, just when you are really warming up to an orgasmic discovery, the climax happens in the mind a lot earlier than the real act.

Interjected within the yo-yo narration, is the mind map kind of narrative from Amy’s point of view. It keeps you involved as you thoroughly empathize with her. She is half-listening to the visitors, is comprehending a part of it, want to talk but can’t. This part of her thoughts have been beautifully captured in a hand-held camera feel. It adds to the dark grey shades already present. At times, it distracts you.

Author- Holly Seddon

Author- Holly Seddon

I will give her credit to get you emotionally entangled with character’s pain, to empathise with Alex, Amy and Jacob. Vignette of reasons and feeling at unexpected corners. The flaw, your emotions don’t get fixated to one character, and it holds you from being totally immersed in it.

Going by the psychological thrillers, it just makes the cut. It is above average.


It is one of the books un-caged by my dear friend and IIM-A batch-mate Subri. He is currently based at Nagpur.