Since We Fell

Since We Fell by Dennis Lehane

Since We Fell tells the story of Rachel Childs as she searches for her father, a man she barely remembers from her childhood.  It is also the story of her struggles as a journalist covering the 2010 earthquake in Haiti.  Oh, and it’s also the story of the breakdown of her first marriage to a selfish coworker that coupled with the events of Haiti, leads her to develop agoraphobia.  From there, it becomes a mystery novel.  And a thriller.  And finally something similar to a pulp-crime novel.

Since We Fell feels like a novel with an identity crisis.  On one hand, you have a compulsively readable thriller that demands your attention, but on the other hand, you have an insane, over-the-top story that really requires you to suspend your disbelief.

In an interview with Amazon, Lehane said that he had the book written before going back and writing the first 100 pages.  This actually explains a lot.  Those first pages cover Rachel’s formative years living with her successful author mother, her search for her long-lost father and events which led to her developing agoraphobia.  I didn’t find this particularly slow or boring like some readers due to the strength of Lehane’s writing.  Everything just flowed so well.

The book then takes a sharp turn a little over halfway through completely “gone-girling” the story.  It’s quite jarring and while it did keep me reading, the plot grew increasingly convoluted and my interest began to wane near the end.  There came a point where I no longer cared for any of the characters, Rachel included – which I don’t think was Lehane’s intention.

It’s difficult to say this is a “bad book”.  I sat down yesterday afternoon with about 100 pages under my belt with the intention of reading a few dozen more and before I knew it, I finished the book.  Lehane is one of my favorite writers, he knows how to pace a thriller with the best of them, which is likely why I kept moving forward but if it were any other writer, I’m not sure I would have finished it.

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