About the book:
We were told to meet at a rooftop bar.
Four friends, bound by one terrible secret.
No one knew why we were there.
Then we saw a woman, watched as she fell from the edge and plunged to her death.
The police think it’s suicide, but I know better.
Someone is sending a message.
Now they’re coming for us.
This book made me so happy. Having loved Merilyn Davies’ debut novel ‘When I Lost You’, and the fabulous characters of DS Nell Jackson and civilian crime analyst Carla Brown, I couldn’t wait for the second book in the series. Please don’t think that you can’t read If I Fall if you have not already read When I Lost You, because there is just enough information to explain what they experienced prior to the setting of the second book. It can be absolutely read as a standalone, but because When I Lost You was so good, I would certainly recommend that you read it.
Starting a short time after the end of When I Lost You, we are immediately launched into a dramatic setting where crime analyst Carla Brown is witness to what on the surface looks like a suicide. Is everything what it seems? Carla has such brilliant instincts when it comes to analysis, and a dogged determination which really makes her a force to be reckoned with. Nell is very different to Carla, but just as determined when it comes to getting to the crux of an issue, and solving a crime. I really loved the fact that Carla witnessed the suicide, and was there to pick up on the relevance of some of the other witnesses namely a group of friends who were attending a reunion party and appear to know the woman who died. As a police procedural story I really felt that having Carla present when the suicide occurred was a completely fresh approach, and it promptly launched me into the middle of a story that I could not put down once I had started it.
There were so many twists and turns in this story that I felt wrong-footed several times when I thought I had worked it out, only to find that I was completely wrong, having been misguided by Merilyn Davies’ skillful storytelling. I know the word ‘unputdownable’, which if I’m honest is a word that makes me feel uneasy because of its informal nature, is a word often bandied around in book reviews, but If I Fall was a book I was unable to put down once I started it, and therefore it really was ‘unputdownable’!
This book as well as dealing with suicide also considers the situation for the many homeless people living on the streets of Oxford, generally considered a fairly affluent location, but it also considers another darker issue, which is bizarre in this day and age, but which is sadly still an issue even in a progressive society and which I am loath to spoil for you, so sorry, no spoiler from me! The story is told from the perspective of not only Carla and Nell, but also from Rachel, who is the wife of one of the friends.
I love the crime thriller element of this story, because it was so difficult to work out who the victims would be, but I think what this book does compared to other police procedural stories, is show an aspect of the investigation which is rarely considered, that of the role of the crime analyst, and the tools they use to help the detectives get to the resolution of the case. Having worked in analytical jobs, and having worked with former crime analysts I find it fascinating to see that side of policing, so I love the character of Carla, and love following her through the story. Merilyn Davies is the perfect writer to approach a police procedural thriller in this way, given that she is a former crime analyst herself, and this is what is now a must-read series of books for me.
I find the style of writing so vibrant that I can picture everything in my mind’s eye, and as much as I would love to see these books transferred to a television drama, I am eagerly awaiting what will happen with Nell and Carla next!
Many thanks to Lydia Spooner and Arrow Publishing for my copy of If I Fall by Merilyn Davies which I received in exchange for an honest review and participation in this blog tour. Please head over to the other stops along on the tour.
If I Fall will be released in eBook on 1st March 2021, with the paperback released on 4th March 2021.
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