Before You Die [also published as What You Left Behind] (Lorraine Fisher, Book 2)
Random House (UK & AU: 15th January 2015; CA: 24th March 2015; US: 14th April 2015)
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TRIGGER WARNINGS: Suicide, hate-crime.
Samantha Hayes’s previous novel, Until You’re Mine, is fabulous. Family-based paranoia, its creepiness is very affective. But what makes it so good is that it mostly focuses on ordinary people, who AREN’T in law enforcement and investigation. Mostly.
Thus what makes Until You’re Mine stand out from the crowd is unfortunately missing here. I enjoyed meeting Detective Inspector Lorraine Fisher and her family back then, and I still like Lorraine here in Before You Die. Often faced with other police members’ incompetence or carelessness, she strides in and takes over – because someone has to, and since no one else seems to have bothered, it’s up to Lorraine. (Really, how is Burnley still employed?)
Yes, Before You Die is family-based paranoia like its predecessor, and it still has a twist for the very last chapter. But because it mainly focuses on Lorraine’s family, it just doesn’t have the same appeal as the first book. It’s still well-written and engaging, but the series seems now in police-procedural territory…and thus difficult to stand out from all the other police procedurals on the crime shelves.
The third novel in the series is being released shortly, and I look forward to reading it. And though I really like Lorraine, I hope this new novel will regain what made the first book so fabulous.