A Gift for Dying – M.J. Arlidge

Once again sorry for my inactivity, but I’m hoping to be posting more as the Christmas period approaches.

This novel follows Kassie, a young teenage girl who claims to be cursed with the ability to see – with one look into your eyes – when and how you will die. Adam Brandt, a forensic psychologist, is used to dealing with the most corrupt and damaged members of society, but he’s never met anyone like Kassie. He can’t possibly believe her so-called delusions, but when a serial killer hits Chicago she seems to be the only one with the ability to know where he will strike next. Against all his instincts, Adam begins to believe her. This deadly choice proves fatal for his entire life, and soon he begins to feel everything slip away.

THIS BOOK. Wow. I absolutely loved it. And hated it for its consistent sadness and relapsing cruelty, but sometimes those are the best kind of books. I’ve never read anything by Arlidge before, but without a doubt I will be reading his crime series, beginning with Eeny Meeny. His writing was just so captivating, and truly the whole world disappeared while I was reading.

The story was dark and deceitful, and shrouded in misery and maliciousness. A thick layer of sickening anticipation suffocates you throughout every chapter, every page, every word. I’ve read little that compares to the crushing amount of pressure the reader is put upon to simply read more. Arlidge’s writing is immaculately cutting and never fails to to capture you within its false embrace. You drown in the story and the overarching sadness that comes with it, sometimes reaching the surface and getting a small but sweet breath of hope and relief. But you’re always ripped down and swallowed back into the waves of rippling life, death and despair.

Its almost torturing, reading but having no control. Its a huge theme of the book: control. The killer’s yearning for it, and his pleasure in achieving it by torturing his victims beyond human boundaries. Kassie’s battle with it, and questioning why she has this “gift” if she cannot control it or change it or make some kind of difference with it. And Adam’s loss of power. You can feel it slowly dwindle away as the story moves forward, until finally he reaches a spiral of anguish and has to endure the one thing worse than death: life.

This is certainly not a happy book, from the first page to the last it drips with haunting thoughts and tortured minds. It demands to be finished, and not to do so would be a crime to no one but yourself. Although some of it is clearly unrealistic, and even verging upon supernatural, I found it easy to overlook, although I look forward to reading more of his books to get a better idea of how her writes the more realistic side of things. If I’m honest, I’m a bit scared to start another one of his books, out fear that I will be disappointed, but my fear seems to be futile from the reviews I’ve read, as most seem to prefer his D.I Helen Grace series to this one. Still, a little bit of book fear never hurt anyone, and my excitement easily overrules my seemingly unnecessary timidity going further into his writing.

This has to be one of my favourite books of all time, and one of the very best this year. I honestly cannot recommend it enough, particularly to those that are fond of the crime genre.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Thank you for reading, bye! 🙂

Evie ❤

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