- Title: Since We Fell
- Author: Dennis Lehane
- Genre: Thriller
- Structure: Third-person linear narration
- First Line: “On a Tuesday in May, in her thirty-fifth year, Rachel shot her husband dead.”
Synopsis: Since We Fell follows Rachel Childs, a former journalist who, after an on-air mental breakdown, now lives as a virtual shut-in. In all other respects, however, she enjoys an ideal life with an ideal husband. Until a chance encounter on a rainy afternoon causes that ideal life to fray. As does Rachel’s marriage. As does Rachel herself.
Sucked into a conspiracy thick with deception, violence, and possibly madness, Rachel must find the strength within herself to conquer unimaginable fears and mind-altering truths. By turns heart- breaking, suspenseful, romantic, and sophisticated, Since We Fell is a novel of profound psychological insight and tension. It is Dennis Lehane at his very best
I feel like my brain melted. You know those books that blow your mind so much you just have to sit there and remember how to breathe? How did I not know about Dennis Lehane before this?! Anyway, let’s get into my points while I can still string words together.
- Dennis Lehane is a phenomenal writer. He’s no new kid on the block as this is his 12th book and it really shows in his craft. The book flowed impeccably well. The characters and conversations were relatable. You could feel like you were in the book in the moment. I would buy the rest of his books in nothing flat.
- Finally a synopsis that matches the intensity of the book! I’ve been running into a lot of books lately where the synopsis is dull or unhelpful. A seemingly minor detail, but it’s definitely a deciding factor as whether or not to read the thing in the first place.
- The storyline is amazing. Most of the time, I gripe at authors because I think they could up the stakes. Lehane is a master of upping the stakes and writing a gripping and fascinating story. I wanted to do nothing else but read this book. I also wanted to do nothing else but not finish the book because I was enjoying it too much and didn’t want it to end. There are many little plot twists and major plot twists that make this book easily one of the most exciting books of the year.
- This book firmly has it foot in the “thriller” category. Sometimes, books in mystery/thriller/suspense don’t do much for me on any of those levels. However, this one gave me several moments of pause. I literally had to put the book down at some point because it was making me so anxious. There were several moments where I found myself saying “oh no, no, nononono, nooo” out loud. The second I start coaching myself through it, that’s how I know it’s a good thriller. haha!
THE UNFAVORABLE BITS
When I first scoped out this book on Goodreads, I was a little less than halfway through and slightly confused as to why anyone would rate it below 5 stars. However, once I got to the main twist of events, I started to understand.
Lehane goes into about 100 pages of backstory that seemingly don’t amount to much of a connection. It felt like the backstory was really there for reference, but not because it played into the main plot. This was a huge downside for me. Backstory is fine, but I’m a firm believer that if it’s not moving the story along, it needs to be cut. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. Like I said, Lehane is a fantastic writer and, for that reason, I liked it, even though it goes against my main principle. It’s almost as though he found his footing a quarter of the way in. It feels like he was unsure of where the story was going until that point and I, as a reader, got that sense while in the midst of it.
Secondly, and this may have been done intentionally, it feels like the book stopped midway through the story. I think Lehane tried to wrap it up in the last page and a half (literally), but it was not a concise and clear ending. I’m hoping he did this because he’s planning a sequel (which I would buy in a heartbeat).
As per usual, I let you know about any graphic parts or strong language in case you’re sensitive or in case you want to recommend the book. There are some slightly graphic parts and there is some strong language. However, none of it is too intense.
THE SWEET SPOTS
In this section, I cover some of my deeper, personal thoughts. Books are meant to make you think. I always think the best books are the ones that help you discover pieces of yourself.
- Did this book remind you of anything that has happened to you?: One of the main characters battles with anxiety and panic (amongst other things), which I found relatable. I do have an anxiety and panic disorder than can sometimes get in the way of things. Witnessing her trying to fight her inner demons was fascinating and accurate. It seems like her husband was the only one truly aware of what she battled day in and day out, which attests to the idea that you can’t know what’s going on in people’s lives. A person that may look completely fine may also be the one going home to deal with some serious trepidations in their lives.
- Did this book give you any new ideas of yourself?: For one, it showed me how fast I can read 400 pages (ha!). On a serious note, it was a reminder that the pull of anxiety is still weaker than the pull of hope and a thorough belief in yourself. I think that is a message that most people can relate to, especially given that anxiety is so relevant in today’s society.
- What lesson did you learn?: While family and friends are the ones who bring joy to your life, you are the only one who can give yourself purpose, drive, and will. Everyone leads a life that they don’t put in a spotlight. Everyone has a chapter of their life that they don’t read out loud. Even the person you are closest to and know the most about is not beyond surprising you with something you never knew about them.
I really, truly wanted to give this book 5/5, but I’m giving it a 4/5. The writing is amazing. The storyline zooms along and develops this phenomenal plot line. I never wanted to finish the book because it was so great and I was enjoying it way too much. However, the fact that there’s a lot of unnecessary backstory is a big no-no for me. I’m a thorough believer that at least 90% of your book content should serve a purpose for the endgame. There was just too much there that didn’t meet that standard. In addition, the book ended abruptly. Like I said in the full review, I don’t have a problem with that if he’s planning a sequel. Yet, it should still be somewhat conclusive. Hands down, I would absolutely recommend this book to a friend. I loved this book, regardless of the couple of downsides. I would read anything else Dennis Lehane puts out there in a heartbeat because he an incredibly talented writer.
GET YOUR COPY HERE!
I received Since We Fell from the Book of the Month Club for May 2017. It was so great to receive personalized book recommendations at my doorstep! Honestly, I’m not sure if I would’ve picked up and experienced Woman No. 17 if it wasn’t for BOTM. You can join the club here for under $20 a month!
*Thank you Book of the Month Club for sponsoring this. All opinions are my own.