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The Beauty of the End
Debbie Howells

from FictionZeal.com re: Try Not to Breathe by Holly Seddon

Try Not to Breathe: A Novel - Holly Seddon

Fifteen year old Amy Stevenson is now a cold case.  She disappeared on her way home from school.  Many had begun to suspect her step-father, Bob Stevenson, as the culprit.  Then Amy was found, but she’s unable to disclose her abductor.  She’s what some would call a ‘vegetable’.  In 2010, fifteen years later, new technology shows that many of these patients have actually retained thought processes; they’re just unable to communicate it without help.


Alex is a freelance journalist working on an article of Dr. Haynes and the patients in the Neuro-Disability unit.  She sees Amy and remembers when Amy was in the news.  She remembers because she was the same age and in Amy’s class.  Now the assignment becomes more personal for her.  She contacts her ex-husband, a detective in South London.  She needs information that he may be able to share about the case; something, anything, to get her started.  She begins by contacting and interviewing the step-dad who had moved and changed his name.


The story held such a great premise.  The reader is given a greater understanding through chapters that alternate between Amy in 1995 and Alex in 2010.  There’s another character, Jacob, Amy’s boyfriend, who the reader also has a chance to get to know.  And he seems to be feeling extensive guilt when he thinks of Amy.  What’s up with this?  Realistically, I know that all of us have flaws and so it’s no surprise that Alex is a flawed character.  However, the reader should be given info on a ‘need to know’ basis, and I think having the knowledge about her bedwetting due to her ‘not yet controlled’ alcoholism, is one thing I didn’t need to know.  Rating: 3.5 out of 5.