If She Wakes by Michael Koryta
Little, Brown and Company: 5/14/19
eBook review copy; 400 pages
If She Wakes by Michael Koryta is a very highly recommended, fast-paced thriller.
Tara Beckley, a senior at Hammel College in Maine, is the contact
person to drive visiting lecturer Amandi Oltamu to the venue where he
will give a presentation related to his work on batteries and solar
panels. Tara, following Oltamu's request, has parked the car by a
walking bridge when a van hits them, killing Oltamu and leaves Tara in a
vegetative state. After the driver of the vehicle who hit them
confesses, everyone assumes it was an accident, but Abby Kaplan, an
insurance investigator, doesn't believe that is the case. As a former racer and stunt driver, Abby knows how cars behave at high speeds.
As Abby continues her investigation she gets Oltamu's phone which she
hopes hold clues. Tara regains consciousness, but is a victim of
locked-in syndrome, which means she's fully alert
but unable to move or communicate. To further complicate matters a
young killer, Dax Blackwell, has been hired to make sure Tara can never
say what happened, silence Abby, and get Oltamu's phone.
This is an tension-filled, exciting, fast-paced thriller that will
hold your attention from beginning to end. A high level of suspense is
sustained throughout the novel and the cold, malevolent calculating
actions of Dax increase the fear and make the dread palpable. The
quality of the writing is excellent and the plot moves quickly as each
chapter alternates between the points-of-view of different characters.
The various plot threads all begin to weave together, which makes the
suspense created by the complicated, dangerous plot even more
All of the characters are well-developed and you will fiercely care
about what happens to them. Koryta gives all of these these characters a
backstory, making them realistic with their own fears and motivations.
These are not unreliable characters. They feel as real as a close
friend, so the situation they are in is heartbreaking and
heart-stopping. Even with plot twists, that also feel believable, these
characters continue to experience growth - even through the fear.
If I had one bit of doubt, it was Tara experiencing the locked-in
syndrome and medical professionals not realizing it sooner. On the other
hand, I am not a medical professional, so perhaps it is possible. A
strong 4.5 rounded up.
My review copy was courtesy of Little, Brown and Company.