Before I begin, I think I should tell you that this book is a majorly edited version of "Don't Let Me Die". I haven't read the original, as this one actually appealed to me more - probably because it had been 'revamped'. The opening pages of both books are completely different so to begin with it does seem like you are reading a different book with characters of the same name. I can't advise which one to read but I do recommend this more recent version.
So the story begins with Emma and Darren Turner in the prologue before shifting dramatically to Emma waking up in a psychiatric hospital with no clue as to why she was there. Throughout the entire book as we watch the story unfold through Emma's eyes, we are left with baited breath waiting for that "light bulb" moment to reveal why she is there and where are her family.
The story primarily revolves around Emma in the hospital and the questions she asks herself. What happened to me? Why am I here? Where are Darren and Jayden? And why haven't they come to visit me? Throughout the entire story, Emma has the overwhelming sense that she is guilty of something terrible and that whatever happened it was all her fault.
<i>(I have to admit, why is the main character in so many books always professing to be solely to blame for something that very probably really isn't their fault? Do they feel some sort of martyrdom? Because I know when I feel something is or isn't my fault. Why profess to be to blame when they aren't? Does that make them a better person?)</i>
Haunted by nightmares even whilst awake, Emma questions herself and her sanity whilst confined within the walls of the secured unit of the psychiatric hospital she finds herself in. Every day she sees a psychiatrist to help her unlock those repressed memories that she is so afraid to face. The scenes within the hospital I find to be rather sad, traumatic and even horrific. How would one feel to find themselves locked up against their will (or knowledge) unable to fight back because who will believe you - you're just another one of the "crazies".
Throughout the book, Emma's story unfolds in chapters labelled "BEFORE" (the re-telling of her life, cleverly interwoven as sessions with her psychiatrist, before waking up in the hospital) and "AFTER" (referring to the nightmare in which she finds herself in the hospital). Each day through each session, Emma re-tells the events leading up to "the night it happened", the night she can't remember. Within her story she recounts the heartbreak at losing her mother, the her father and the rejection of her twin brother. So when she is told that her estranged brother of 8 years is coming to visit, she is both surprised and wary. But as her only relative, the doctor encourages the visits and Emma soon finds herself happy and comfortable with the reunion. She has missed her brother and they ease back into a comfortable relationship. After a few visits, he suggests taking her out for weekend leave, secretly planning with her to go back to scene of "that night" to try and jumpstart her memories. Emma is keen to do so in the comfort and familiarity of her brother's presence, despite her doctor working her up to that point in their sessions. Emma feels she would be better off remembering in the familiar company of her brother, where she feels safe, rather than the doctor, whom she feels is just another client to her.
As the story unfolds, you can see it all leading up to this moment...when Emma will finally remember what happened. But what one may not see is the who, despite throughout the entire tale Emma and Darren "knowing" who was behind the threats, stalking, breaking into their home... They weren't prepared for either the outcome or who really was targeting them.
I can't say much more without giving anything away but it was a brilliant twist to a fine story - although I admit I suspected the outcome and who was behind it very early on in the story. I read so many books in this genre I guess I am just attuned to the little things that one might miss and where to look when no one else does. Admittedly, I think I may have suspected the outcome and what happened because of something I read in the synopsis for the earlier version of this book "Don't Let Me Die". If you don't want it spoiled, don't look at that book and go straight to this one. You won't be disappointed.
One other thing - I was surprised to discover the setting as being in Illinois US, as the author I read is Australian...so I guess I figured the book would be too.
Not recommended uninteresting too farfetched and the unsatisfactory climax was telegraphed a mile away. Really disliked the book due to the poor ending. I've never rated a book so badly. Breathtaking? Yes breathtakingly bad.
A fantastic, page turner! I got so caught up in thIs story I just had to keep reading.
The book begin s with Alex waking up to find herself i a mental health facility and the last 24 hours of her memory missing. What happened to her and where are her family? While she searches for answers through her therapy sessions we learn about Emma's last few days with her husband Darren and teenage son Jayden. Will she ever remember, and will she see them again?
I really enjoyed this book, love a book that sucks you in at the start and doesn't, let you go til the very end. Thank you to Bookouture and NetGalley for an advanced copy of this book to read in exchange for my honest opinions