Review: A Breath After Drowning by Alice Blanchard @titanbooks @AliceBooks333

Goodreads|Amazon

Release date: April 10, 2018

Publisher: Titan

Genre: Psychological Thriller

Blurb:

Child psychiatrist Kate Wolfe’s world comes crashing down when one of her young patients commits suicide, so when a troubled girl is left at the hospital ward, she doubts her ability to help. But the girl knows things about Kate’s past, things she shouldn’t know, forcing Kate to face the murky evidence surrounding her own sister’s murder sixteen years before, bringing Kate face to face with her deepest fear.

I’m thrilled to be one of the stops on the blog tour for A Breath After Drowning today!! I have my thoughts to share about the book, but first I have a fantastic guest post from the author to share.

BOOKS THAT OWN ME

by Alice Blanchard

I own a lot of books.  Hundreds.  Stacked on tables, crammed into bookshelves, packed away in boxes.  Usually, I read a book once and that’s it.  Occasionally I’ll find a book that I truly love and I will turn to it again and again.  These pages are dog-eared.  The jackets are missing.  I don’t really own these books—they own me.

Here’s a short list of favorites:

“Monkeys”

Susan Minot wrote a book called “Monkeys” about growing up with lots of brothers and sisters and having a father who slowly loses his mind.  The entire family dances around the elephant in the room, and the children try to fix the world for their parents but can’t.  I love this book, and I love this writer.  Minot’s young characters speak with the disturbing honesty of children stuck in hell.

“Silence of the Lambs”

Gorgeously written by Thomas Harris, “Silence of the Lambs” is a chilling look at the fine line between good and evil.  Clarice Starling grew up poor and struggling, but the one thing that kept her afloat was her father, a cop who believed in justice.  After he died Clarice got sent away to live with relatives, where she witnessed the slaughter of the spring lambs.  The death of the lambs drove Clarice to become the kind of person her dad would’ve been proud of.  But it’s just the kind of psychological weakness Hannibal Lector preys on.  Clarice needs his help to stop a psychotic creep from skinning more victims, and she allows Hannibal probe her psyche, but instead of manipulating and controlling her, Hannibal comes to admire this dauntless woman. Clarice is a hero who can’t be corrupted and she outwits both monsters in the end.

“The Ballard of the Sad Café”

In The Ballad of the Sad Café, Southern Gothic author Carson McCullers penned a love story about an awkward, tall woman who falls in love with a short, cagey stranger.  The stranger breaks her heart, makes her look like a fool, and leaves the small town she’s stuck in forever.  What’s not to love about a storyteller like that?  McCullers was a fearless woman writing crazy fables of tragic love at a time when women were supposed to behave like Doris Day.

“Rosemary’s Baby”

Rosemary Woodhouse is the face of all that is good in Ira Levin’s Rosemary’s Baby, one of my favorite books.  She’s modern, optimistic, funny, vibrant.  She loves her husband, who turns on her in the most vicious way imaginable, forcing her to become the primal mother who wields a knife to protect her child.  Rosemary is everywoman, wanting life to be good for the people she loves, until she comes face to face with the reality of evil.  Instead of shrinking, she fights.

“Nine Stories”

The characters in J.D. Salinger’s Nine Stories can’t cope with the hypocrisy of the adult world—how we lie to each other, how we betray each other daily. My favorite story in this delicious collection is “A Perfect Day for Bananafish.”  In it, Seymour Glass is losing his mind.  He went to war, and now he’s back, married to Muriel, a shallow young woman who doesn’t understand him.  Seymour loves her, but that only makes his sense of isolation more painful.  While is wife is preoccupied with frivolous things, Seymour sits on the beach and talks to three-year-old Sybil, who calls him “See more glass.”  Seymour tells Sybil about bananafish, an allusion to his inner turmoil.  It’s the story of a man who can’t contain his pain any longer, and it’s the most hauntingly realistic thing I’ve ever read.

“The Exorcist”

William Peter Blatty’s crowning achievement is a superbly written shocker and the definitive horror novel.  Great thrillers are often about ordinary people confronting evil, and never has there been a more authentically ordinary character than Chris MacNeil.  Despite the fact that she’s a movie star (there’s nothing ordinary about that), she’s also a divorced mom and a compulsive worrier who lies awake at night fearing death and… what-the-heck-is-making-that-scraping-sound-in-the-attic?  When a demon possesses her daughter, Regan, Chris is forced to battle not only the supernatural, but the medical establishment who cannot help her little girl.  My vote for the ultimate movie Mom.

“Jesus’ Son”

Denis Johnson’s legendary collection of short stories is a harrowing masterwork—hypnotic snapshots of young men who use drugs to ward off the suffering they feel every day of their lives.  Each tale is carved from Johnson’s own vivid life experiences.  We are transported into a radiant world full of ravishing beauty and raw visions.  Johnson’s genius is that he has us willingly embracing the transformative power of human emotions—yearning, grief, and wonder.

I love these books with all my heart.

Bio:  Alice Blanchard’s new psychological thriller “A Breath After Drowning” (Titan Books) comes out on April 10, 2018.  Visit her website:  https://aliceblanchard.com/  Or follow her on Twitter:  https://twitter.com/AliceBooks333.

Review:

It’s no secret that I love psychological thrillers, they’re one of my favorite sub genres and reading one that brings something new to the table is cause for celebration. This is told solely from Kate’s perspective and is laid out in a standard, linear manner with just one timeline to follow, although the past does play a huge role in the storyline. I know many of you are tired of books that jump from past to present with several narrators, so I wanted to make sure I shared that! Kate is a psychiatrist, with a special interest in children and I loved seeing things from such a fresh perspective.

Kate has a dark family history full of pain and tragedy, she’s a highly complex woman who fascinated me. This is a character driven story with an incredibly well thought out cast of characters, although as the book goes on the tension increases at a steady pace, drawing the reader in slowly. I kept thinking I had things all figured out ahead of time only to be proven wrong over and over again, I just love when a book keeps the surprises coming! This was very well constructed and really kept me on my toes, I never did actually guess anything correctly before it was revealed.

By the end of this book it took me a minute to realize that I had read the last twenty percent at a frantic pace, things were so intense and exciting I was racing to see what would happen next. Things ended in an ultimately satisfying conclusion and had me nodding my head in appreciation of the way Blanchard had fit all of the pieces of the puzzle together.

A Breath After Drowning in three words: Controlled, Fresh, and Intriguing.

Overall rating: 4/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.

4 thoughts on “Review: A Breath After Drowning by Alice Blanchard @titanbooks @AliceBooks333

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