They All Fall Down by Tammy Cohen
Pegasus Books: 3/6/2018
eBook review copy; 384 pages
They All Fall Down by Tammy Cohen is a highly recommended psychological thriller set in a high-risk psychiatric institute.
Hannah is currently receiving help at the Meadows, a private
psychiatric clinic in the country. She has done something that results
in her being admitted, but we don't know quite what. She is married,
although her marriage is in trouble and was before her admittance. She
was pregnant, and we know she lost her baby, Emily, although we don't
know how. What we do know is that two patients have died since she's
been admitted, including Charlie, one
of her closest friends at the Meadows. While it is a high-risk unit,
Hannah knows that Charlie would not have killed herself. She firmly
believes that someone is killing patients and making their deaths look
like suicides. But who is going to believe her?
Corinne, Hannah's mother, knows that her daughter needs help and wants
to support her to help in her recovery. The question is how can she help
her daughter get better? At first she is reluctant to believe Hannah's
conviction that a killer is loose, but to alleviate her daughter's
concerns Corinne begins to look into the background of the clinic's
founder, Dr. Oliver Roberts. As she uncovers secrets and discrepancies
from the doctor's past, she also begins to look into the woman with whom
Hannah's husband had an affair. As she begins to find numerous
irregularities that are disconcerting, Corinne's belief in Hannah
This was an interesting, compelling thriller. The narrative alternates
mainly between the voices of Hannah and Corinne, and occasionally with
Laura (the art therapist). Placing Hannah in a psychiatric institute
automatically means that she is an unreliable narrator and we can't
necessarily trust her character. Could her beliefs be a manifestation of
her illness? On the other hand, she is a great character and you get a
sense that although she is fragile, she can be rational on some levels.
Corinne is an equally great character, smart, insightful, and
resourceful. She wants to support her daughter and does what she can to
help her. The supporting characters are equally interesting.
The quality of the writing in They All Fall Down is quite good.
Cohen does an exceptional job with the pacing and we get twisty little
reveals of more information, along with additional suspects being added,
as the novel progresses. The tension keeps increasing as the sense that
something terrible is going to happen looms larger. Why Hannah was
admitted is revealed before the ending, which gives an added dimension
to the plot. This is a suspenseful story that should hold your attention
throughout the whole novel.
My review copy was courtesy of Pegasus Books.