Don't Even Breathe
From the bestselling author of Crash comes a riveting thriller rife with murder, misdirection, and ghosts from the past.Florida homicide detective Maggie Novak has seen hundreds of brutal murder cases, but when she is called out to investigate the charred remains of a young woman, in what appears to be a Halloween prank gone wrong, she is confronted with a twenty-year-old secret. The body is formally identified as that of school counselor Dana Cullen, but a distinguishing mark makes Maggie look again. She believes it is the body of her school friend Rita, who perished in a fire twenty years ago.Maggie’s hunt for the truth behind the murder takes her back to a cruel high school trick she’s desperate to forget. And when another body turns up, Maggie realizes she too may be the target of a sinister plot creeping toward its final act.Maggie needs emotional distance to do her job, but she’s so close to this case that she can’t even breathe. Will Maggie be able to uncover the truth of who wanted Rita dead? Or will her past mistakes catch up with her first?

Don't Even Breathe Details

TitleDon't Even Breathe
Author
ReleaseApr 18th, 2019
PublisherThomas & Mercer
ISBN-139781503900912
Rating
GenreMystery, Thriller, Mystery Thriller, Fiction, Psychological Thriller, Suspense

Don't Even Breathe Review

  •  Li'l Owl ~ Incorrigible Reader
    January 1, 1970
    LINDY MUNSON MUST DIE Long before she’d agreed to go on a date with him, Tyler had known he would kill Lindy Munson. One day. Somehow. Preferably slowly. For years, whenever Tyler had thought of the girl with the sallow complexion and the snow-white hair, he’d fantasized about doing something bad to her—probably from as far back as the sixth grade and the very first time she’d caught him studying her from across the school cafeteria. Long-legged Lindy, with her teasing personality and her annoy LINDY MUNSON MUST DIE Long before she’d agreed to go on a date with him, Tyler had known he would kill Lindy Munson. One day. Somehow. Preferably slowly. For years, whenever Tyler had thought of the girl with the sallow complexion and the snow-white hair, he’d fantasized about doing something bad to her—probably from as far back as the sixth grade and the very first time she’d caught him studying her from across the school cafeteria. Long-legged Lindy, with her teasing personality and her annoying popularity. A throat that was ripe for strangling. Back then, Tyler had meant nothing to her. Not even an irritation. Something less than human . He’d been invisible, her gaze penetrating right through him, as though he didn’t exist. It was a look of absolute indifference that had gobbled up every bit of his universe, until all that had remained was Lindy the Langolier eating into his brain. Tyler couldn’t recall the exact moment he’d decided to kill the most popular girl in school. The cafeteria incident had been the first of many, with Lindy’s continued aloofness consuming him through the years. What would it take to make her notice him? "Tyler had asked himself this question countless times during the past four years of high school, usually when he was lying awake at night and visualizing all the ways he could make Lindy see him. He’d lost track of how many abduction scenarios he’d planned out in fine detail, and what he’d do to her once they were finally alone together.********Don't Even Breathe by Keith Houghton starts out loaded with suspence and continues to build to a breath holding, heart stopping, terrifying conclusion! I enjoyed the storyline, the characters, especially Florida homicide detective Maggie Novac, and the twists and unexpected events in in this book. This is a true psychological thriller! This is my first experience with this author thanks to NetGalley and I'll be interested in reading more of his works. With thanks to NetGalley, Thomas and Mercer publishing, and Craig Houghton for this advanced digital copy for me to read and review.
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  • Liz Barnsley
    January 1, 1970
    Don’t Even Breathe is a pacy, addictive thriller with an intriguing mystery at the heart of it that draws you in immediately.The prologue in which a murder is planned was enough to engage my reading senses then the author backs that up with a tense and beautifully plotted novel with little twists and turns leading you to a heart stopping finale.Maggie is a great character and there is a well formed supporting cast with enough misdirection to keep you guessing. Past and present collide and you ar Don’t Even Breathe is a pacy, addictive thriller with an intriguing mystery at the heart of it that draws you in immediately.The prologue in which a murder is planned was enough to engage my reading senses then the author backs that up with a tense and beautifully plotted novel with little twists and turns leading you to a heart stopping finale.Maggie is a great character and there is a well formed supporting cast with enough misdirection to keep you guessing. Past and present collide and you are hooked in first page to last.A great crime read. I would not be disappointed if this were to be a series.Recommended.
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  • Kat | Rustic Pages
    January 1, 1970
    My rating: 2.5/5After seeing the attention grabbing cover and title, Don’t Even Breathe, I thought I was in for a scary, spooky story, but this was not the case. I would better describe Don’t Even Breathe as a police procedural. Unfortunately, instead of keeping me on my toes, I found myself often bored while reading the lengthy inner dialog and felt the characters’ relationships were unnatural and forced. There were many mentions to events that happened years ago thrown in in a way that made th My rating: 2.5/5After seeing the attention grabbing cover and title, Don’t Even Breathe, I thought I was in for a scary, spooky story, but this was not the case. I would better describe Don’t Even Breathe as a police procedural. Unfortunately, instead of keeping me on my toes, I found myself often bored while reading the lengthy inner dialog and felt the characters’ relationships were unnatural and forced. There were many mentions to events that happened years ago thrown in in a way that made the story feel jumbled. I had a hard time connecting to the book and ended up skimming scenes not pertinent to the plot.I also found myself growing irritated that the police didn’t think of possibilities that seemed almost obvious early on. The ending was a little far-fetched for my liking and there was an overly long explanation at the end of the book that really was unnecessary, given that the climax was clear enough. It was not my favorite book, but every reader’s experience and tastes are different and what might not be for me, may be for you.For more reviews: rusticpages.blog
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  • Lou
    January 1, 1970
    I didn't really know what to expect going into this, the first novel in the Maggie Novak series, but I was very impressed. There are surprises in every chapter and putting it down comes with great difficulty. Maggie is a likeable, affable protagonist who certainly knows her own mind and develops at her own pace. The plot is well constructed and complex but not overly so and the fast pace and clear, readable style will make this a hit with crime aficionados.Many thanks to Thomas & Mercer for I didn't really know what to expect going into this, the first novel in the Maggie Novak series, but I was very impressed. There are surprises in every chapter and putting it down comes with great difficulty. Maggie is a likeable, affable protagonist who certainly knows her own mind and develops at her own pace. The plot is well constructed and complex but not overly so and the fast pace and clear, readable style will make this a hit with crime aficionados.Many thanks to Thomas & Mercer for an ARC.
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  • Ceecee
    January 1, 1970
    This was a rollercoaster book. It started slowly and I was mildly intrigued, then it picked up pace and I became more invested in it but then it ended up disappointing me at the improbable ending. Homicide Detective Maggie Novak was the central character and she was interesting so I may read another one in this series.
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  • Trisha
    January 1, 1970
    "The dead can't talk.""You need to do it for them,Detective. They rely on you to shed light on their death, even if it takes you to some very dark places. You'll do good never to forget the dead bodies are still people, with family and friends and lives before they died. Let them speak through you."This was a great mystery and one that definitely kept me flipping the pages. I couldn't figure out who done it and I kept chasing the same line as the MC Maggie, trying to get one step in front of the "The dead can't talk.""You need to do it for them,Detective. They rely on you to shed light on their death, even if it takes you to some very dark places. You'll do good never to forget the dead bodies are still people, with family and friends and lives before they died. Let them speak through you."This was a great mystery and one that definitely kept me flipping the pages. I couldn't figure out who done it and I kept chasing the same line as the MC Maggie, trying to get one step in front of the bad guy. This would have been a solid 4 star book if it hadn't all been a bit too.....neat? There were just a huge whole string of coincidences that held the whole plot together and I just couldn't quite make the leap with the story like the Deathtectives did. I did enjoy Maggie and her struggle to be who she is now and try to make up for who she used to be. I liked the plot and it moved quickly. I'd definitely read more from this author.
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  • peggy
    January 1, 1970
    One of the better murder mysteries that are being released at the moment. A real page turner, got my heart racing and in places had me sat on the edge of my seat and tapping my kindle faster and faster. I HAD TO KNOW!!!!!! Bread this book in one sitting and kept me reading late into the night. This book is full of cliches but in no way did it detract from my reading pleasure. Almost five stars and highly recommended. I would like to thank the author, Amazon Publishing UK and Netgalley for the AR One of the better murder mysteries that are being released at the moment. A real page turner, got my heart racing and in places had me sat on the edge of my seat and tapping my kindle faster and faster. I HAD TO KNOW!!!!!! Bread this book in one sitting and kept me reading late into the night. This book is full of cliches but in no way did it detract from my reading pleasure. Almost five stars and highly recommended. I would like to thank the author, Amazon Publishing UK and Netgalley for the ARC in return for giving an honest review.
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  • Valerie
    January 1, 1970
    I had never read a book by this author until now, and I was pleasantly surprised to find out how engaging the story is. Maggie Novak is a detective in Florida in the area where she grew up. She and her partner were called out on a homicide where they discovered a burned beyond recognition body of a female. Her car was nowhere in sight. However, her purse with ID documents was recovered near the scene of the crime. The woman's name according to her ID was Dana Cullen, but Maggie recognizes her as I had never read a book by this author until now, and I was pleasantly surprised to find out how engaging the story is. Maggie Novak is a detective in Florida in the area where she grew up. She and her partner were called out on a homicide where they discovered a burned beyond recognition body of a female. Her car was nowhere in sight. However, her purse with ID documents was recovered near the scene of the crime. The woman's name according to her ID was Dana Cullen, but Maggie recognizes her as her best friend from high school over 20 years before. The puzzling thing is that Rita, the woman's real name, was supposed to have died along with her whole family in a house fire about 17 years before. At first the powers that be suspect Dana's husband of her murder, and even hold him until they realize that the case is much more complicated than it appears on the surface. In high school, many years before, Maggie Novak, Rita Gragoryan and Kristen Falchuck were best friends. Until Kristen basically ostracized Rita, calling her a lesbian and bullying her in other ways. A motive appears to surface when the body identified as Dana Cullen is actually that of Kristin Falchuck. Apparently, Dana's husband and Kristen had been having an affair. One can see where this goes from there, but there are other added complications to the story such as Dana Cullen using a high school boy to help her in exchange for setting it up so he could murder a girl who had basically rejected him. I thought the book was very well written and enjoyed reading it very much. If you enjoy good mysteries, you won't go wrong with this one.
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  • Kate
    January 1, 1970
    This book was brilliant from beginning to end! Lots of twists and turns. I am sure there will be another book to follow this one, certainly hope so.
  • Davada
    January 1, 1970
    When it comes to murder-mystery crime novels, Don't Even Breathe by Keith Houghton is up there as one of the good ones. This is a genre I'm always very wary of reading; when written well, murder mysteries can be haunting and grip at your mind. But, unfortunately, this genre is also stock piled with books that just aren't good. Every murder mystery I've ever read at some point in time falls into into the same-old same-old cliches... and this book is no exception to that. Yes, I have admitted this When it comes to murder-mystery crime novels, Don't Even Breathe by Keith Houghton is up there as one of the good ones. This is a genre I'm always very wary of reading; when written well, murder mysteries can be haunting and grip at your mind. But, unfortunately, this genre is also stock piled with books that just aren't good. Every murder mystery I've ever read at some point in time falls into into the same-old same-old cliches... and this book is no exception to that. Yes, I have admitted this novel does have its cliches, Like the classic "I don't have time for a personal life, I'm all tunnel vision work-only" detective, the "The best friend was the killer the whole time???! trope, the epilogue/first chapter is the killer's thoughts, and the SUPER classic investigation-forces-detective-to-confront-her-past plot line. And yes, these cliches definitely weigh down this novel But, I will give the author credit still. For one, I was thoroughly entertained reading it, and as soon as Maggie found the "Leave me alone" note I definitely couldn't put the book down. Maggie, the lead detective in the story, is definitely very....intense. But, her character is well balanced out with Nic and Loomis's light personalities that give the comedic relief. One thing I loved about this book was the diversity. The cast wasn't cookie-cutter; it featured characters with vitiligo, characters born in South Africa, characters raised in New York streets, and all different sets of personalities: goth, preppy, intense, light, funny. The diverse set of characters brought so much life into this story, so many different backgrounds and specialties, I loved it. Overall, I would recommend this story. As far as cliches, I have never read a murder mystery that didn't fall into them; and Keith definitely makes it up with fantastic characters and chair gripping fight scenes.ARC provided by netgalley for review
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  • Andi
    January 1, 1970
    I don't know what it was, but this cover just drew me in. I found the main protagonist really likeable with her sassy attitude. The writing was easy to read, it flowed well. I found myself just reading on without a second thought. Great book, will be looking out for more.Thanks to NetGalley, Keith Houghton and the publishers.
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  • Samantha Gonsalves
    January 1, 1970
    Whoa! 5 stars for this one that really had me floored.Nothing like a brilliant thriller with spine-chilling events!There's nothing like a detective with shadowy past and a point to prove. Maggie Novak is one kick-ass detective! All characters in this book are so damn interesting, I couldn't keep this one down!It has all the salient points of a solid good thriller:Murder, check. Nail-biting suspense, check. An extraordinary detective, check. A remarkable partner, check.A good mix of freaky & Whoa! 5 stars for this one that really had me floored.Nothing like a brilliant thriller with spine-chilling events!There's nothing like a detective with shadowy past and a point to prove. Maggie Novak is one kick-ass detective! All characters in this book are so damn interesting, I couldn't keep this one down!It has all the salient points of a solid good thriller:Murder, check. Nail-biting suspense, check. An extraordinary detective, check. A remarkable partner, check.A good mix of freaky & adorable characters, checkA well-written, twisted plot, check.A you-didn't-see-it-coming ending, check!I eagerly look forward to more of Ms Novak. Hands down one of the best I've picked from Netgalley. This book has definitely piqued my interest in Keith Houghton's other books and sure as hell I'll be reading them as soon as I can get my hands on them. I'm very happy I picked this up. Very unique of the book to have chapter headings!Thanks to Netgalley, Keith Houghton & the publishers for an arc.
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  • Marianne Jay
    January 1, 1970
    From the first page to the last is non-stop action. A really good thriller.
  • Corinne
    January 1, 1970
    This book was right up my street. I was engrossed from the very start an couldn’t put it down. I could never predict what was going to happen or what way the plot was going which is a good thing as it keeps you wanting more. Having said that the ending was a bit of a let down. I was really expecting a great ending with plot twists I hadn’t even thought of not your average plot ending that you have read before. It had the potential to be great. On another note loved this authors style of writing This book was right up my street. I was engrossed from the very start an couldn’t put it down. I could never predict what was going to happen or what way the plot was going which is a good thing as it keeps you wanting more. Having said that the ending was a bit of a let down. I was really expecting a great ending with plot twists I hadn’t even thought of not your average plot ending that you have read before. It had the potential to be great. On another note loved this authors style of writing an I would definitely read more from this author. Still a good read but just a let down when it came to the ending...
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  • Leah Hines
    January 1, 1970
    A suspenseful mystery full of twists. The characters are well developed. The plot is intriguing. Just when you think you have it solved, you're wrong. This is a good start to a new series. I can't wait to see how things develop.
  • Amie's Book Reviews
    January 1, 1970
    With a multitude of twists and turns DON'T EVEN BREATHE by Keith Houghton is a #thriller whose unrelenting action will keep you reading long into the night. Main character, Maggie Novak is such a believable character that is perfectly relatable. She may be an elite homicide detective, or "deathtective," as she calls herself, but she is also a person with a past. Maggie knows she has done terrible things and she wishes she could go back and change them, but she knows she can't. Maggie has a man i With a multitude of twists and turns DON'T EVEN BREATHE by Keith Houghton is a #thriller whose unrelenting action will keep you reading long into the night. Main character, Maggie Novak is such a believable character that is perfectly relatable. She may be an elite homicide detective, or "deathtective," as she calls herself, but she is also a person with a past. Maggie knows she has done terrible things and she wishes she could go back and change them, but she knows she can't. Maggie has a man in her life, but she keeps it casual. He is a cute, surfer whose day job is working in the mental health field. He has a dog and I love that the dog's name is Spartacus. When Maggie's worst high school memory is brought to light, she has to not only find a murderer, but must also face up to what she did back then. This story proves that high school may be long over, but often, the memories affect the rest of a person's life. I rate DON'T EVEN BREATHE as 4 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐ and am thrilled to have found a writer whose work I was unfamiliar with until now. I can't wait to get my hands on the rest of his novels. Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with a free copy of this book. To #read more of my #reviews or to enter to #win #giveaways visit my #blog at the #linkinmybio or go to http://Amiesbookreviews.wordpress.com
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  • Charissa
    January 1, 1970
    I loved the detail and well developed characters. The story does make you realize how a high school prank can affect an entire army of people. I did see the end coming but did not want to put the book down!
  • Tarrah Marie
    January 1, 1970
    A relatively decent police-procedural by Keith Houghton. The prologue is gripping and succinctly draws the reader in from line one. However, the pace of plot slows dramatically going into the first few chapters as more focus is placed on detailing police work and internal dialog. The characters are decently developed but lack a natural cohesion with one another. It feels as if the character’s description versus their actual portrayal is in conflict with one another. In addition, veteran readers A relatively decent police-procedural by Keith Houghton. The prologue is gripping and succinctly draws the reader in from line one. However, the pace of plot slows dramatically going into the first few chapters as more focus is placed on detailing police work and internal dialog. The characters are decently developed but lack a natural cohesion with one another. It feels as if the character’s description versus their actual portrayal is in conflict with one another. In addition, veteran readers of this genre may find Houghton’s foreshadowing presumptuous, leading to an easy depiction of the plot twist. Overall an okay read. 3 stars.Thank you to #NetGalley for this ARC of #DontEvenBreathe in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Michele
    January 1, 1970
    Very good suspense book with a few good twists. Ending was a definite surprise. At times some of the book had to be skimmed because of all the typical police who did what but it didn’t take away from the story Good characters and plot. Would definitely recommend. Thank you netgalley for letting me give an honest review of this book.
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  • Bridget
    January 1, 1970
    I absolutely loved reading "Don't Even Breathe!" This book had it all, for me. It had a complex and intelligent plot, memorable characters, believable and logical dialogue and a hugely fulfilling and satisfying conclusion. I am so delighted that I have discovered another favourite author!Very highly recommended.I received a complimentary digital copy of this novel at my own request from the publisher via NetGalley. This review is my own unbiased opinion.
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  • Simona Moroni
    January 1, 1970
    Elevator pitch: The past you try to leave behind will take you down.What I liked: Plot! I repeat it: the plot. It is refreshing to read a thriller that leans heavily on its narrative construct and delivers a real puzzle. The first two chapters offer a seemingly unsolvable mystery, and watching how logically it all comes together is gratifying. A lot of thrillers these days rely too much on the psychological struggle of the protagonist and forsake the story.Don't even Breathe delves into the guil Elevator pitch: The past you try to leave behind will take you down.What I liked: Plot! I repeat it: the plot. It is refreshing to read a thriller that leans heavily on its narrative construct and delivers a real puzzle. The first two chapters offer a seemingly unsolvable mystery, and watching how logically it all comes together is gratifying. A lot of thrillers these days rely too much on the psychological struggle of the protagonist and forsake the story.Don't even Breathe delves into the guilt and shame of the very sympathetic Homicide detective Maggie Novak, without forgetting to build a fictional case, not relying solely on the troubles of the hero. Maggie Novak is a straight arrow, competent, and determined, The return of a capable female lead. Hooray!The beginning of Don't even Breathe is the gripping part, the story tapers a bit towards the wrap-up, but the last action scene has enough tension and evil characters loaded with malice to slide in between the goalpost ( I guess I still have football on the brain).What it is about: Homicide detective Maggie Novak and her partner get called to a crime scene, where they find the charred remains of a female. Soon Maggie discovers these belong of her former best friend in high school. The problem: Rita died in a fire twenty years ago. And how come a budding psychopath and the most popular girl in school, he intended to kill, were the ones that discovered this body?
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  • Toni
    January 1, 1970
    This was a really good book. I marveled as the detective did the work to figure out why the victim she was sure she knew had a different name than on the driver’s license in her pocket. This was intricately detailed and amazing. Also a new author for me, so I am glad to find a good one to check out more of their books.I thought the ending might be the usual suspects but I was genuinely surprised by how original the ending was. Good job!The writing was stellar and almost like I was watching a mov This was a really good book. I marveled as the detective did the work to figure out why the victim she was sure she knew had a different name than on the driver’s license in her pocket. This was intricately detailed and amazing. Also a new author for me, so I am glad to find a good one to check out more of their books.I thought the ending might be the usual suspects but I was genuinely surprised by how original the ending was. Good job!The writing was stellar and almost like I was watching a movie than reading a book. Spine-tingling suspense at its finest. Definitely a thriller to check out. You won’t be disappointed.I received this as an ARC (Advanced Reader Copy) in return for an honest review. I thank NetGalley, the publisher and the author for allowing me to read this title.
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  • Kathy Sandlin
    January 1, 1970
    A classic crime suspense novel. I always enjoy a good crime book with a strong female lead character. The author did a great job describing Maggie’s fight scenes. I could completely envision them. I struggled a little bit with the criminal and why it actually happened. Seemed a bit unbelievable. The reasoning and the crimes just didn’t seem to match. Thank you NetGalley for an ARC copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Jool
    January 1, 1970
    An amazing page turner! How did the author think up such a seemingly impossible plot?! This was an incredibly exciting read that I thoroughly enjoyed. I look forward to reading many more novels about the heroine Maggie Novak.
  • The Book Beggar
    January 1, 1970
    Don't Even Breathe by Keith Houghton⭐⭐⭐3 of 5 StarsPublished by Thomas & Mercer Publishing - April 18th, 2019A Florida detective, Maggie Novak, is called out late one night to investigate a murder. The body is charred beyond recognition, however, Detective Novak is able to I.D. the victim. An old, long believed to have been dead in a house fire, high school friend. Maggie is able to confirm based on a distinctive physical characteristic the body is that of her friend. The investigation becom Don't Even Breathe by Keith Houghton⭐️⭐️⭐️3 of 5 StarsPublished by Thomas & Mercer Publishing - April 18th, 2019A Florida detective, Maggie Novak, is called out late one night to investigate a murder. The body is charred beyond recognition, however, Detective Novak is able to I.D. the victim. An old, long believed to have been dead in a house fire, high school friend. Maggie is able to confirm based on a distinctive physical characteristic the body is that of her friend. The investigation becomes personal when Novak learns her friend did not die in that house fire long ago, but she did die in this fire. Detective Novak, attempting to not let the investigation get the better of her or become too personal, seeks out the truth. She begins with the two teenage witnesses who discovered the remains. One, a girl, appears to have now disappeared and the other, a boy, is reluctant and unwilling to cooperate with Novak. Houghton creates a character in Novak that works like an onion throughout the length of the tale. Each new chapter or discovery peeling back to a new, undiscovered layer of Detective Novak. Each new layer also makes the reader wonder if Detective Novak is who she appeared at the start, and if she is even the right person to investigate this case. Especially when one is forced to consider her potential involvement. Don't Even Breathe was an easy read, the flow was moderate. I did not connect with any of Houghton's characters, nor was I really drawn in to the story. I felt like an outsider looking in the length of the book and there were times when I found myself more interested, usually when there was something dramatic happening. It was during these times when the writing flow picked up so you felt your heart was racing just like the character's. However, the overall feel of the book just wasn't where I needed it to be. The writing style is clean, nothing too confusing, circular, run-on, or the like. But the usage felt too simple at times. As if characters were introduced fleetingly and even though they played a major role in the tale overall there was no sense of their emotions in the writing. I want to feel the fear in the writing of the character being chased, the drive of the detective seeking out this ruthless murderer. Some of the details just felt flippant at times. Want more of The Book Beggar? Read the Blog: https://johannaelysebeachy.wixsite.co...
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  • Angela
    January 1, 1970
    I was good and geared up to intensely dislike this author when I first started this book. It opens with 2 teenagers headed out to the woods, the young man with murder on his mind apparently and this stunning description of the young lady: "her long smooth legs seemed to bend in the middle without any hint of knees, and her elbows seemed equally inconspicuous. Lindy Munson was a living, breathing Barbie doll and although her curves were subtle, she knew how to make the boys notice them."*Insert e I was good and geared up to intensely dislike this author when I first started this book. It opens with 2 teenagers headed out to the woods, the young man with murder on his mind apparently and this stunning description of the young lady: "her long smooth legs seemed to bend in the middle without any hint of knees, and her elbows seemed equally inconspicuous. Lindy Munson was a living, breathing Barbie doll and although her curves were subtle, she knew how to make the boys notice them."*Insert eye roll of MASSIVELY EPIC PROPORTIONS. Oh. Great. Another male author that's going to reduce the women in his book to tits and ass, with ridiculous trite descriptions like her boobs jiggled like bags of jello and she stared off vacuously in the distance while her butt sashayed blahblahblasayblah. *Insert I was wrong, and I'm glad I kept reading. Our main protagonist, Maggie, is a damn gem of a detective. She's strong, persistent, influenced by her flaws, but not destroyed by them. Houghton does a really fantastic job of differentiating his characters with truly unique voices and personalities. A lot of authors just aren't good at that. In a lot of books, the characters blend together and they have to continuously insert descriptions prior to dialogue for you to keep straight who's who. Maggie Novak is her own person, as are the other players in this series (since this was marked as Novak Book #1, I'm truly hoping for more to follow). Don't Even Breathe is a piece of art. Novak finds a burned body, and a purse nearby with a license. The picture on that license turns out to be the face of a woman she knows for a fact burned in a house fire 20 years before. She knows because they were best friends before a horrible prank tore them apart. The name on the license isn't her friends name though, and what follows is a cat and mouse game of switched identities, a frame job, more dead bodies and a kidnapping. You can tell a lot of research went into this book, from autopsy information, to police work and everything in between, the author deftly weaves it in without it ever becoming boring. This book is a twisty turny thriller and was a heart racer to read. Right up there with the best authors in this genre, cannot wait to read more from this author!
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  • Gabrielle Hyde
    January 1, 1970
    I received an ARC of this novel from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.This mystery/thriller novel brings to mind the reasons why I feel in love with the genre in the first place: the high intensity that sits on the heart throughout every page; the heart-pumping questioning the theorizing that takes place from beginning to end; the satisfying and yet sometimes puzzling endings that make you want to read more from this character I received an ARC of this novel from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.This mystery/thriller novel brings to mind the reasons why I feel in love with the genre in the first place: the high intensity that sits on the heart throughout every page; the heart-pumping questioning the theorizing that takes place from beginning to end; the satisfying and yet sometimes puzzling endings that make you want to read more from this character when the ride ends. This book hit all of these notes and more for me as a lover of mystery/thrillers.Keith Houghton started the story off with a bang and ended with one as well. The plot was captivating and interesting. Towards the end it became a little messy with some confusing details, but overall the story was clear. My biggest worry about male authors writing female characters, especially ones that are supposed to be strong headed, is that the male authors will play the females too safe. Houghton did a phenomenal job with Maggie, who was both head strong and had her soft spots too. She has made mistakes, and owns them, but keeps them secret from others because she's insecure about people perceive her in one way or another, like many women do. She was interesting, dynamic, and the true driving force within this story.The atmosphere within the novel was just right for me: intense, but not suffocating to the point where all I am focusing on is the atmosphere. Things felt intense where they needed to be, and didn't where the intensity wasn't needed. It was a great balance that is often hard to do with thriller novels, which are expected to be at 100% intensity every second until the end.Overall, with a minor hiccup towards the end, "Don't Even Breathe" is a wonderful start to a series that I will definitely be looking for the next book of. Houghton's writing has inspired me with my own mystery/thriller, and is truly a great example of ones that are done well within the modern writing realm.Rating: 4/5 stars
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  • Fawn
    January 1, 1970
    I wanted very much to love this book. The main characters were connectable and enjoyable. The story starts on good footing but never reaches the finish line.Most of what I want to say about the book would be to basically give spoilers and I try to avoid that as much as I can. Essentially it’s yet another version of King’s “Carrie”, a concept entirely too predictable in my opinion but with bullying being a current hot topic I’m not surprised to see it popping up again.What really throws this vers I wanted very much to love this book. The main characters were connectable and enjoyable. The story starts on good footing but never reaches the finish line.Most of what I want to say about the book would be to basically give spoilers and I try to avoid that as much as I can. Essentially it’s yet another version of King’s “Carrie”, a concept entirely too predictable in my opinion but with bullying being a current hot topic I’m not surprised to see it popping up again.What really throws this version off is the censored style of writing. For instance, at one point a murder has a gun pointed at a naked woman and as ‘his gaze moves up and down her body” his hand moves toward his crotch. Five minutes later, same lascivious murder tells woman angrily to shut the “heck” up. In a few short paragraphs we go from Rated R to PG.By 80% I had figured out the who, what, where, when, and why. What surprised me was that none of the story characters had done so. There are multiple reveals but let’s focus just on the crime that starts this story, the dead body of a friend who should have been dead twenty years before. STOP. At the end comes a big reveal about this woman, but the story has a glaring error that no medical examiner with so much as a high school education would have missed.If as you’re sorting clues you happen to notice the error as I did then reading the rest of the book is quite a yawn fest and eye rolling-ly awful. From that point on it reads like a young adult novel.I wish I could give it a better review but it just couldn’t hold up under scrutiny.Thank you to NetGalley and Publishers for allowing me to read this title.My apologies for delayed review. My health is still not well.
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  • Portia
    January 1, 1970
    I finished this book in one sitting and that's a rarity for me. The prologues entice you and keep you hooked onto the book from the start. This is my first book by the author. I did not know what to expect. And I was not disappointed.Maggie Novak is the lead detective. The character is a typical female lead we see on TV or read in a book. She likes to keep herself busy at work, leaving little time for social interactions. And does a good job at work and is respected for her invaluable contributi I finished this book in one sitting and that's a rarity for me. The prologues entice you and keep you hooked onto the book from the start. This is my first book by the author. I did not know what to expect. And I was not disappointed.Maggie Novak is the lead detective. The character is a typical female lead we see on TV or read in a book. She likes to keep herself busy at work, leaving little time for social interactions. And does a good job at work and is respected for her invaluable contribution.Both the detectives are likable characters. There's depth given to most of the characters. There's some amount of background info for each (recurring, I suppose) characters.The book glides through the chapters with engrossing suspense. The narrative is perfectly paced is perfect. And the author has done a remarkable job of painting a word picture Orange County, the minute elements which constantly reminds Maggie of her school days.That brings me to the subtle theme about teenage bullying and how sometimes it puts a scar for life. often as a kid, we don't realize how strongly our words and actions can hurt. But the author builds a compelling story that underscores this issue.The book's climax was a complete surprise. The crime fiction fans will eventually realize the culprit, but it is difficult to accurately pinpoint the person. I definitely recommend this book to all crime fiction fans. My rating for the book 4 out of 5 stars.Thank you NetGalley and Amazon Publishing UK for giving the eARC in exchange for my honest review.
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  • M
    January 1, 1970
    A police procedural, not a thriller. The author’s writing is good, the characters—especially the police—are well-developed, and the settings believable and very atmospheric. That said, as a police procedural fan, I began seeing plot problems early on and had difficulty suspending disbelief. For this storyline to work, the reader must accept too many unbelievable incidents and coincidences. Here are several examples from the first part of the book. The protagonist-detective identifies a badly-bur A police procedural, not a thriller. The author’s writing is good, the characters—especially the police—are well-developed, and the settings believable and very atmospheric. That said, as a police procedural fan, I began seeing plot problems early on and had difficulty suspending disbelief. For this storyline to work, the reader must accept too many unbelievable incidents and coincidences. Here are several examples from the first part of the book. The protagonist-detective identifies a badly-burnt corpse as that of a friend, dead for 20 years—her entire family supposedly burned to death in a house fire. For this “identification” to stand, the ME, forensics team, in-house labs and contract-labs have to be incompetent. As for the 1996 house fire: Were the ME, forensics team, and crime labs also incompetent? How about the police and fire departments? In current time, a long-dead woman has re-appeared, so are the four other family members alive? If so, how and why? A police procedural aficionado would think: US Marshals and WITSEC. By 50% it’s not difficult to guess possible sequence(s) of events and to choose a culprit or three. Still, I wanted to find out why, how and exactly whodunnit. I’m more critical when actually reading, so I listened to the book via Audible—which allowed my brain to focus on creating a movie of the book.Thanks to Karen Peakes, an excellent voice actor, I finished this book. Her performance allowed me to live the story with the characters of “Don’t Even Breathe.” Brava, Karen Peakes! Brava.
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