If I Die Tonight
There was a time when Jackie Reed knew her sons better than anyone. She used to be able to tell what they were thinking, feeling, if they were lying…But it's as though every day, every minute even, she knows them a little less. Her boys aren’t boys anymore, they’re becoming men - men she’s not sure she recognises, men she’s not sure she can trust.So when one of her son’s classmates is killed in suspicious circumstances, people start asking questions.Was it really a hit and run? A car-jacking gone wrong? Or something much more sinister?Now Jackie must separate the truth from the lies.How did that boy end up on the road?And where was her son that night? Praise for A L Gaylin ‘Right now, A L Gaylin is at the very top of her game, crafting exhilarating and audacious crime novels that are both rich in character and rivetingly told. Her books are, quite simply, not to be missed. ’ Megan Abbott‘This is mind-blowing suspense from an exceptional writer.’ Alex Marwood‘You'll stay up late to read this one. A L Gaylin is a storyteller guaranteed to keep you up all night.’ Laura LippmanAnd last but not least: ‘AL Gaylin is a great storyteller.’ Mark Billingham'A multi-layered tale that will keep you guessing, and guessing again…slick, smart and surprising, with sinuous twists and turns. Go grab a copy – now!' 'Crime Fiction Lover'‘chock full of suspense’ Damp Pebbles blog‘does not disappoint’ Shots Mag

If I Die Tonight Details

TitleIf I Die Tonight
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseOct 2nd, 2017
PublisherArrow
ISBN-139781784756208
Rating
GenreThriller

If I Die Tonight Review

  • Liz Barnsley
    January 1, 1970
    Having loved What Remains of Me I was really looking forward to this and it was one of those books I devoured - although it has a mystery at the heart of it and it'll get tagged as a psychological thriller, this was much more family drama with a small town vibe, digging deep into themes of parental responsibility, sibling relationships, school and community hierarchy and the dark depths of humanity.A boy dies - run over during a carjacking, a town mourns and focuses in on Wade - a loner of sorts Having loved What Remains of Me I was really looking forward to this and it was one of those books I devoured - although it has a mystery at the heart of it and it'll get tagged as a psychological thriller, this was much more family drama with a small town vibe, digging deep into themes of parental responsibility, sibling relationships, school and community hierarchy and the dark depths of humanity.A boy dies - run over during a carjacking, a town mourns and focuses in on Wade - a loner of sorts, who is struggling with things he can't describe. His mother no longer knows who he is, his brother doubts him and the beauty of this one came in the depth of the characters, the layered relationships and the obfuscated and twisted motivations of a community seeking answers and closure.My heart ached for them all in a way - A L Gaylin brings a strong emotive edge to her descriptive tone and dialogue - shining a spotlight on those we meet, peeling away their realities in a tense and atmospheric read that promises no salvation but might give you some anyway.The ultimate resolution when it comes is beautifully embedded into the previous narrative, it is both heart wrenching, traumatic and in some ways unexpected - there are scenes throughout that will have you gritting your teeth and others that will make you catch your breath.Really beautifully done. In all the white noise of this genre at the moment, its a true thing to say that clever, talented and beautiful writing tells - If I Die Tonight has all three, making you feel every moment and live it right along with this fractured town.Definitely recommended.
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  • Emma
    January 1, 1970
    *FOUR AND A HALF STARS OUT OF FIVE*Regular visitors to my blog will know that I am a big fan of crime thrillers set in small town America. If I Die Tonight is set in Havenkill, a small Hudson Valley town where little happens and that’s exactly how the residents like it. Except tragedy is heading to Havenkill in the form of a hit and run accident. When Liam Miller is tragically mown down one wet October night following a carjacking, all eyes fall on Jackie Reed’s eldest son, Wade. Wade is differe *FOUR AND A HALF STARS OUT OF FIVE*Regular visitors to my blog will know that I am a big fan of crime thrillers set in small town America. If I Die Tonight is set in Havenkill, a small Hudson Valley town where little happens and that’s exactly how the residents like it. Except tragedy is heading to Havenkill in the form of a hit and run accident. When Liam Miller is tragically mown down one wet October night following a carjacking, all eyes fall on Jackie Reed’s eldest son, Wade. Wade is different to his classmates. He’s artistic, secretive and a bit of a loner with no friends to fight his corner. His younger brother, Connor is on his side though and will do anything Wade asks of him. Even dispose of a tied carrier bag in a dumpster at the local Lukoil. The same bag Wade had hidden in Connor’s closet the night of Liam’s accident. Jackie soon begins to realise that she doesn’t know her children anymore. That they have their own lives, their own secrets. It’s down to Jackie to clear Wade’s name before he’s arrested and made into the local pariah.One of the things you can always guarantee with an A.L. Gaylin novel is GREAT characters. Some readers are all about the plot, others the setting. Personally, I’m all about the characters (and the plot and the setting!). Jackie Reed was someone I could immediately understand and relate to a little. She’s a working single mother, with little support from her ex-husband. What I liked most about Jackie though was her heart. There are times throughout the book when the reader is made to question Wade’s innocence. Jackie has a small wobble here and there but she’s pretty steadfast in her belief that her son is innocent. I loved that. I could feel her love and belief emanating from the page. There are a whole host of other brilliant characters in this story too (however, Jackie will remain my favourite!). I also really liked Jackie’s youngest son, Connor. Connor’s life changes when his friends suddenly start treating him differently. I can imagine how much this would hurt as an adult so I was interested to see where Gaylin would take the emotions of a young teen. He’s an admirable young man and I really liked him.I was pleasantly surprised by one of the twists. I had convinced myself that I knew where the story was going but I was actually quite far off of the mark. The amount of suspicion in the pages of If I Die Tonight was really rather thrilling. I mentioned before how much I love books set in small town America and that’s because I love the claustrophobia and how the characters suddenly become suspicious of friends and family, always looking over their shoulders.Would I recommend this book? Absolutely. I thoroughly enjoy Gaylin’s writing style, her characters are well written and more believable than most and it’s a GREAT plot, chock full of suspense. After reading two of this author’s books she is now firmly on my list of authors to keep an eye out for. Highly recommended.Four and a half out of five stars.I chose to read and review an ARC of If I Die Tonight. The above review is my own unbiased opinion. My thanks to Jasmine at Arrow Publishing for asking me to be part of the blog tour and for my ARC.
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  • The Bookie Rookie
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you NetGalley & Random House, UK Cornerstone Century for sending me the book for an honest review. The book was good, it talked about murder, trauma at a young age, abandonment & the extremes teens may go to because they're "bored" (not all but y'know). It also shows how much of a part social media plays in our everyday lives, in the way it's so often used to spread the word (whether it be good or bad, it's super quick). I think it's the reveals that added to the little twist the b Thank you NetGalley & Random House, UK Cornerstone Century for sending me the book for an honest review. The book was good, it talked about murder, trauma at a young age, abandonment & the extremes teens may go to because they're "bored" (not all but y'know). It also shows how much of a part social media plays in our everyday lives, in the way it's so often used to spread the word (whether it be good or bad, it's super quick). I think it's the reveals that added to the little twist the book had which made it a 3.5 rating instead of a 3. One of the reveals really made me say "um what...?" like did I read that right?
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  • Gemma
    January 1, 1970
    This book is about a young boy who is killed in a hit and run and the story goes into who is the culprit! The story is told from a few different points of view. I really enjoyed it although I did have the ending guessed right from the start. But I like to be right too! Only thing that I didn't like was some of the names of the characters, I have no idea why I just wasn't keen. I did however like the character Pearl and I'm hoping there might be more to come from her? Great read and would recomme This book is about a young boy who is killed in a hit and run and the story goes into who is the culprit! The story is told from a few different points of view. I really enjoyed it although I did have the ending guessed right from the start. But I like to be right too! Only thing that I didn't like was some of the names of the characters, I have no idea why I just wasn't keen. I did however like the character Pearl and I'm hoping there might be more to come from her? Great read and would recommend to anyone! Thanks to NetGalley for the advanced copy!
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  • Karen Cole
    January 1, 1970
    Last year I reviewed - and loved - A.L. Gaylin's previous book, What Remains of Me so I was absolutely delighted to be asked to take part in the blog tour for her latest book, If I Die Tonight.What Remains of Me was about crimes committed decades apart, for this new book A.L. Gaylin focuses on just the one crime - a hit and run that results in the death of a teenage boy - but again uses different narratives, this time split between characters rather than years, to tell the story.The book opens w Last year I reviewed - and loved - A.L. Gaylin's previous book, What Remains of Me so I was absolutely delighted to be asked to take part in the blog tour for her latest book, If I Die Tonight.What Remains of Me was about crimes committed decades apart, for this new book A.L. Gaylin focuses on just the one crime - a hit and run that results in the death of a teenage boy - but again uses different narratives, this time split between characters rather than years, to tell the story.The book opens with a prologue in the form of a suicide note written as a Facebook post and is an immediate example of the author's clever use of social media giving the novel a contemporary feel and highlighting how even crime can be viewed as a dark form of entertainment in this internet age. The post is on Jacqueline Reed's page but was written by her 17 year old son, Wade. He reminisces about his past then discloses he's taken pills and is expecting a quick death. Shockingly 1,043 people like the post.The novel then goes back five days and we are introduced properly to Jackie and her teenage sons, it's immediately obvious that both boys keep secrets from their mum - but that's just normal teenage behaviour...isn't it? A shocking hit and run that results in the death of a local adolescent boy, is the sole witness (a washed up singer with a history of drug issues) reliable or is there more to her story? She claims to be the victim of a car-jacking, the perpetrator purposely driving into the victim after he tried to help her. At first the small town pulls together, united in their grief but there's an inevitability about how the mood changes as facts about that fateful night come to light. The gossip, readiness to point the finger and suspicion of those considered a bit different are all too believable, we've all seen how quickly people become judge and jury in high profile, emotive cases. The social media posts from a number of platforms are sprinkled throughout the book and are a reminder of what a constant factor they have become in our lives; they can end up creating a sort of hysteria as people compete for the most replies and likes and it's only too easy to understand how vulnerable people, particularly teens can be bullied online and moved to take drastic action.The mystery about what actually happened that night is compelling and is accompanied throughout by superb characterisation As a mother of teenagers I could obviously relate to Jackie, desperate not to smother her children but terrified about what they are hiding from her, particularly Wade who has become increasingly withdrawn from his mother and younger brother. Connor wants to protect his older sibling but at what cost to his own social standing? His confusion and guilt as he begins to suspect Wade may have darker secrets than just sneaking out for a cigarette is often touching as is Wade's own torment, the knowledge that he doesn't fit in is a familiar story, the lonely teen mocked and ostracised. His actions often left me frustrated but the author has ensured his decisions are entirely believable, he is, after all, a scared young man on the cusp of adulthood but not yet able to always make the right choices at the right time. As the death of Wade's classmate is investigated we also learn more about the life of Pearl, one of the investigating officers. She has her own secrets and can empathise with the feeling of being an outsider in this small town. It's Pearl who is really the moral compass within the story, she has her suspicions about the truth but is prepared to be wrong and has a deep conviction that everybody deserves the chance to prove they are innocent even when all evidence seems to suggest they are guilty. I'd love to see her return in future books by A.L. Gaylin, her messy personal life, particularly her unfortunate past is gradually revealed and I feel there is real scope for more from her.I loved If I Die Tonight, I was completely immersed in the story, the various twists keeping me guessing throughout. I wasn't just racing through the pages to learn the truth, I genuinely cared about the outcome. This is an intelligent, authentic and very human book, as much a family drama as a mystery thriller, beautifully written and plotted with insightful and compassionate characterisation. I highly recommend it. Many thanks to the publishers and author for inviting me to take part in this blog tour.
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  • Kath
    January 1, 1970
    This is a very character driven book which tugged at my heartstrings throughout. It's the story of single mum Jackie and her two boys Wade and Connor and what happened to them after the events that transpired one night when a classmate of her older boy, Wade, was killed in a hit and run after a carjacking. Set in a small town where everyone knows everyone's business, fingers soon point to Wade as the culprit especially when he can't account for his whereabouts that night. Jackie has to decide wh This is a very character driven book which tugged at my heartstrings throughout. It's the story of single mum Jackie and her two boys Wade and Connor and what happened to them after the events that transpired one night when a classmate of her older boy, Wade, was killed in a hit and run after a carjacking. Set in a small town where everyone knows everyone's business, fingers soon point to Wade as the culprit especially when he can't account for his whereabouts that night. Jackie has to decide whether to trust her son. A simple task you may think but when Wade's recent behaviour has become somewhat questionable, even Jackie starts to have doubts. There is so much going on around and about the incident with most of the characters keeping secrets and lying , even to the Police that for pretty much the whole book I was chasing my tail as I tried to cut through the noise to get to the truth. It was quite an emotional read for me, especially with what was going on with Connor and how the fallout from the town's victimisation of Wade spilled over to his life and affected his own relationships. Similarly with what happened to Jackie and her job. All on the say so of a bunch of people who decided to be judge and jury and convict on no evidence. Guilty until proven innocent and trial by social media methinks! And as we got to the end, my heart was really in my mouth as I contemplated what was happening. Especially as the shocking truth was starting to come out. A truth that completely floored me when all was revealed. Apart from one final twist that I just can't quite get my head around. But, apart from that, the ending was completely satisfying. As with this author's previous book, What Remains of Me, I fell easily into the style of writing. Something I was very thankful for given the rather convoluted plot and all the secrets and lies flitting about, moving my focus from one character to the next as I tried to make sense of it all. I think the book relied more on confusion than plot to keep the tension high but hey, it worked OK for me so why not!All in all a good solid read that left me satisfied. Would definitely read more by this author.My thanks go to the Publisher and Netgalley for the chance to read this book.
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  • Robert Scragg
    January 1, 1970
    Most parents think they know their kids pretty well. Jackie Reed is no different. She used to be able to spot a lie a mile off, but now she’s not so sure. Wade & Connor aren’t babies any more. They’re well on the way to becoming young men, with secrets that she can’t quite fathom. One of Wade’s class-mates is tragically killed in a car-jacking involving a former music starlet. As the town mourns the victim, questions are whispered that Jackie can only ignore for so long. Was it really a car- Most parents think they know their kids pretty well. Jackie Reed is no different. She used to be able to spot a lie a mile off, but now she’s not so sure. Wade & Connor aren’t babies any more. They’re well on the way to becoming young men, with secrets that she can’t quite fathom. One of Wade’s class-mates is tragically killed in a car-jacking involving a former music starlet. As the town mourns the victim, questions are whispered that Jackie can only ignore for so long. Was it really a car-jacking? What was the young boy doing out on the road at 3 a.m.? Why won’t Wade say where he was that night? She needs answers to these and more, no matter how much the truth might hurt her, and her family.Alison Gaylin taps into every parents fears with this one, asking what we would do, and how far we would go to protect our kids. There’s a few elements that provide a great foundation for the story. The small-town microcosm, where everyone lives in each others pockets, but still with the sense that so much is going on just beneath the surface. Then there’s the teenage conundrum, how much freedom do you give them, before you risk letting them get out of control? Alongside Jackie and her kids, we have a very real & gritty, police presence, in Officer Pearl Maze, as part of the strong supporting cast. Although the premise is great, and the situations very relatable, it did fall a little short of hitting the top notes of tension I'd hoped for. Having said that though. Alison Gaylin is a talented writer, and one I’d definitely go back to for a second helping.
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  • Caroline Ward
    January 1, 1970
    Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read and review this book. This was a very unusual novel and was gripping throughout. A young boy, Liam, has been killed by a hit and run driver after a car jacking incident. The victim of the car jacking is a washed up pop star seeking a return to the stage. With a history of substance abuse, her description of the nights events are called into question. Then we have Wade, a high school ousider who was missing at the time of the hit Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read and review this book. This was a very unusual novel and was gripping throughout. A young boy, Liam, has been killed by a hit and run driver after a car jacking incident. The victim of the car jacking is a washed up pop star seeking a return to the stage. With a history of substance abuse, her description of the nights events are called into question. Then we have Wade, a high school ousider who was missing at the time of the hit and run and is unable to explain his whereabouts or the reason why he felt the need to dispose of some items in a dumpster the follwing morning. As the story unravels we piece together what happened that night and who actually killed Liam. I would have like to see the characters developed at bit more but overall I absolutely loved this book. The concept was great and it was very neatly ended.
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  • Martha Brindley
    January 1, 1970
    I was not too sure about this book from the start but I persevered until the end. It is about a young boy who is killed in a road traffic hit and run and the search for the killer. The concept was good but, for me, it failed to deliver. I would have liked a little bit more character development and more tension. The author is talented and I would read a second book. Thank you Net Galley for my copy.
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  • Amber
    January 1, 1970
    Ok so this was really predictable thriller but still enjoyable to a point. What didn't work, the female detective's entire backstory, it didn't impact the main plot at all. Ditto with the Aimee sick agent husband story line, complete waste.
  • Nicola
    January 1, 1970
    Took me a while to get into this book be really glad I continued. I also guessed the ending but lots of twists on the way. Thank you netgalley for the advanced copy.
  • Patricia
    January 1, 1970
    What Remains of Me was for me one of the stand out novels of last year so I was really looking forward to this. And it really did not disappoint. In If I Die Tonight Jackie Reed is a normal mom, just trying to bring up her son's Wade and Connor the best she can. Wade worries her a lot, he's a loner and prone to unpredictable behaviour but she's sure he's basically a good kid. But then one night a popular boy from Wade's class is killed in an apparent car jacking. Fingers are pointed and Jackie t What Remains of Me was for me one of the stand out novels of last year so I was really looking forward to this. And it really did not disappoint. In If I Die Tonight Jackie Reed is a normal mom, just trying to bring up her son's Wade and Connor the best she can. Wade worries her a lot, he's a loner and prone to unpredictable behaviour but she's sure he's basically a good kid. But then one night a popular boy from Wade's class is killed in an apparent car jacking. Fingers are pointed and Jackie tries to unravel the truth, but all she really knows is that Wade was out that night and he refuses to say where he was....This book kept me gripped throughout. Gaylin has created a cast of believable characters that are really likeable, which is very unusual in this genre! Jackie and local police officer Pearl Maze are the real heart of this story so it's great they are such well rounded, believable and (I'll say it again) likeable protagonists. I only have one criticism of the novel and that's the ending. It's just a bit too abrupt and neat. That aside this is well worth a read, Gaylin is a born storyteller.I received this from Netgalley for an unbiased review.
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