by Alex Austin
In this book we follow actor Philip Raines as he tries to piece together what really happened when his friend Niya was shot and left in a pseudocoma.
We get to follow Philip as he somehow tries to maintain a somewhat normal life after what happened while he simultaneously takes his on-screen role as a detective into the real world and searches for Niya’s attacker and the reasons someone wanted to take her life. As for Niya, she’s stuck in her hospital bed and shares the horrifying story of how she ended up in America after escaping an arranged marriage to a much older man.
This book is a little outside of what I usually read, but I do enjoy a good mystery and I think this book had a lot of great twists and turns that comes with a great mystery book. It was interesting and personal and felt real in so many ways. I particularly enjoyed reading about Philip and following his investigation and even though I knew more than he did (since we also get Niya’s backstory) I never felt bored with his journey. It was a joy to read about his discoveries, and there was still plenty of twists for it to stay interesting throughout
When it comes to Niya I actually like her POV better than Philips. It’s written in first person which makes it feel very personal, and you instantly feel a connection with her. But after a while it became clear to me that young Niya is put through things that I really didn’t want to read about. Forced marriage is bad as it is, but when the bride to be is a child, my stomach turns, and I just want to throw up and hurt someone. I don’t want to spoil the book in any way here, so I’m not going to say more than that I had a really hard time reading Niya’s story and that I really wish that Niya had been made a little older, like at least 16-17. I don’t think aging her up would have changed the story, or Niya’s experience, but it would still have been just a little easier to read it.
There’s a lot of action in this story, but it’s not particularly fast paced. It’s more of a slow burn here and it might take a while to get from one point to the other, which is also why I think it ends up feeling more genuine. Life isn’t really a fast road that leads you from one point to the other, it’s more of a series of turns and small roads and crossroads and dead ends.
The writing is good with a lot of dialogue that makes the characters come to life, and I find it interesting how much personality we get from the characters from just “hearing” them talk to each other.
If you like mystery, thrillers with characters and story that feel real, then don’t hesitate to pick this up. You can get it at Amazon.