Saturday, 20 December 2014

Dying for Christmas by Tammy Cohen - quirky and shrewd

From the Publishers blurb

I am missing. Held captive by a blue-eyed stranger. To mark the twelve days of Christmas, he gives me a gift every day, each more horrible than the last. The twelfth day is getting closer. After that, there'll be no more Christmas cheer for me. No mince pies, no carols. No way out .

But I have a secret. No-one has guessed it. Will you?

My thoughts ...

I was hearing a lot of praise for this book, theres a real buzz about it on-line with blog tours and promotions and reviews popping up with comparisons to Gone Girl Gone Girl and some of my favourite authors and most respected reviewers are saying - read this - it's great! Theres nothing quite like this kind of rumble in the web jungle to pique my interest and also make me a little nervous about reading a book, high expectations can mean an even greater disappointment if it doesn't live up to the hype!

It almost did for me what others promised, but just failed to completely blow me away by the sheer amount of disbelief I needed to suspend in order to accept the storyline. However it's an excellent, well written, chilling, Christmas themed read, and if you're looking for something to read over the holidays you could do a lot worse than curl up with Dying for Christmas.

Our journey begins with Jessica Gold narrating the story of her Christmas, she's stressed as hell, doing her Christmas shopping and takes a break in a busy cafe. Brilliant start - who couldn't relate to that? But this familiar scene rapidly slips into nightmare territory with her unwise acceptance of a lift from an intriguing stranger, Dominic, a brief dalliance to flatter her ego that turns into a kidnap scenario, with many alarming and disturbing angles.

We are held captive, with Jess, as Dominic is revealed to be a hugely disturbed individual, who keeps her locked in his apartment, presenting her, daily, with a range of increasingly bizarre and unsettling Christmas gifts which all reveal a bit more about his own disturbed psyche and unsettling background. 

Then theres - part Two ....

The blurb says Jessica has a secret and no, I didn't guess it, but when her mystery is revealed halfway through the book, thats when things get cunning and even more complex and to call it twisty is like calling molten lava warm.

There is also the parallel storyline of Kim the police officer, struggling to further her own career and to hang on to family life.

Jess is the archetypical unreliable narrator, the characters are all highly unlikeable and I'm growing used to reading books with whom I fail to find an empathy with any character at all, but with this book I increasingly felt the greatest of contempt for every single character created by Ms. Cohen even Kim who I think was possibly created in the hope of having one character we might relate or warm to but I wanted to slap her selfish face too.

Original and quirky, entertaining and shrewd but possibly tries just a little too hard to shock and surprise, following the Gone girl formula from the brief and intriguing synopsis to the highly formulaic cover of a women in red running away in the snow. Does it succeed? theres only one way to find out - you'll have to read it to have an opinion.

1 comment:

  1. I loved your review! This is on my Tablet waiting to be read over Christmas, I'm even more intrigued now after reading your review. I'm ready to suspend my disbelief but also looking forward to it! Thanks ......Carole


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