Since We Fell
Author: Dennis Lehane
Since We Fell follows Rachel Childs, a former journalist who, after an on-air mental breakdown, now lives as a virtual shut-in. In all other respects, however, she enjoys an ideal life with an ideal husband. Until a chance encounter on a rainy afternoon causes that ideal life to fray. As does Rachel’s marriage. As does Rachel herself.
Sucked into a conspiracy thick with deception, violence, and possibly madness, Rachel must find the strength within herself to conquer unimaginable fears and mind-altering truths. By turns heart- breaking, suspenseful, romantic, and sophisticated, Since We Fell is a novel of profound psychological insight and tension. It is Dennis Lehane at his very best. (Goodreads)
What I Liked:
The majority of the story takes place in the Boston area. Being quite familiar with the area myself, I loved finding details like Mass Ave, massholes, crazy Red Sox fans, Beacon Hill and dingy Irish pubs on every corner. I was specifically thrilled when Rachel went to Stephanie’s on Newbury for brunch, it’s my favorite brunch spot in the city.
Since We Fell is essentially two stories: the story of Rachel’s upbringing/mental illness and the story of how she gets wrapped up in a massive money laundering scam with hit-men after her.
Rachel has severe agoraphobia and hardly leaves her house. If she considers going out her thoughts travel to extreme, dangerous situations that could possibly happen if she chooses to walk out the front door.
Mental illness has been another popular aspect of novels published recently and, while some portray mental health issues inaccurately, Rachel’s panic attacks were consistently described in an unoffending, authentic light.
The “crime” in the second half of the book unique; it’s not your typical who-done-it murder investigation. The plot twists are creative and there is enough unpredictability to keep you reading until the end.
What I Didn’t Like:
I guess I didn’t read the synopsis before diving into this book, but I wasn’t expecting another female protagonist psychological thriller… they are being published in masses recently and, to be honest, they’re starting to get a little old. Ever since Gone Girl became a best-selling phenomenon, these types of books are flying off the shelves. I’ve read a lot of them, and enjoyed them, but this one wasn’t my favorite.
The entire first half of the book describes Rachel’s upbringing and her manipulative, well educated, psychologist mother. Rachel’s mother, Elizabeth Childs, withholds the identity of her father; it seems like Elizabeth uses the information as a manipulative tool to keep her daughter close to her. Although Rachel is stuck in the past and determined to find the identity of her father, she still manages to complete schooling (including a graduate degree), get married and work her way up to a successful on-air journalist.
Rachel’s upbringing and declining mental health is drawn out a bit too long, in my opinion. When the second half of the book starts to unravel with interesting plot twists it seems like the book is taking a turn for the better. While the mystery/crime half of the novel has interesting details, I still wasn’t addicted to the book. I wasn’t anxiously waiting to find out what happens or staying up late for no good reason other than to read.
If you’re a devoted reader of psychological thrillers, read this book. It’s unique enough to give it a chance. Furthermore, even though I didn’t love the book, the reviews online vary. Some people loved the book, some people didn’t.
My Next Read:
The Lying Game
by Ruth Ware