Review: Before You Die by Samantha Hayes (5/5)

Tuesday 25 March 2014
A huge thank you to the author and publisher for the review copy. Before You Die will be released on April 24th 2014. Buy it from Amazon in either hardback or on Kindle.You can also follow the author on Twitter.

Oh my God... There is so much I want to say about this book but to say too much would ruin the story. I have had Samantha Hayes' book 'Until You're Mine' on my to read list since its release, and I am now kicking myself so much at not reading it sooner. The reviews were nothing short of amazing and I will be reading Until You're Mine as soon as possible.

Back to Before You Die though and what a story. The story opens with two people riding a motorbike along a country lane. A boy and a girl. The motorbike is stolen and so there's only one helmet which the girl wears. The boy lets the girl ride the motorbike which she then ends up riding too fast resulting in the bike crashing into a tree. The boy is killed instantly, his face and body virtually unrecognisable whilst the girl flees the scene. Later on a suicide note is found from the boy and the town of Radcote fears that the spate of teenage suicides it has only just got over are about to start again.

After the opening chapter I was hooked. I stupidly started the book at midnight, and I say stupidly as I found myself glancing at the clock to see it was nearly 3am and I was halfway through the book! Sleep then got in the way but I woke up, had some dinner and immediately got back into this book finishing it in just one sitting. Always the sign of a good book when you just cannot put it down or turn the pages fast enough. It's hard to talk about the story too much without giving away spoilers but following the motorbike 'suicide' another homeless man takes his own life near some railway tracks. This all happens as Lorraine, a police officer returns to her childhood home to visit her sister Jo and her nephew Freddie.

Freddie is one of the main characters who we learn from Jo has been distant, not leaving his room etc and 'other stuff' which I won't mention here as it's better left for readers' to read themselves. I did feel that Jo was perhaps in the wrong a little as she didn't really try hard enough to find out what was wrong with her son. All too often parents just assume their child is a moody teenager, whereas if they actually tried to find out why they might be surprised. Gil is another character we follow who is autistic and seems to know quite a lot about these supposed suicides, especially when pictures that he has drawn are found.

I have to say that the writing here was superb. The book was just so 'readable' if that is the right word. I just didn't want to stop reading and couldn't touch my Kindle screen quick enough to turn the pages. I was left guessing until the absolute end and loved the whole book. As I said I can't talk about the story too much but little clues are thrown in all the way through the book about the suicides, about what may have actually happened and of course there are one or two red herrings to deter you from who or what is actually in the wrong. It really is a fantastic mystery and very believable. I read a lot of books, mostly crime fiction which can be quite unrealistic at times but the story here in this book feels very real and could almost be a true story. As there isn't just a mystery element but it's also a story about families and friendships. And it is definitely a book I urge everybody to read who is looking to read about those things.

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