Released: May 9th 2017
Warnings: Mentions of rape/murder
I’m going to be honest with you here; I came very close to putting this book down and not finishing it. I ended up being stubborn and not letting myself do that, which I’m glad for. I didn’t end up loving it but the feeling and events change pretty dramatically, and I would have missed all of that if I hadn’t continued reading. Despite all this, it’s actually written very well. Some authors can’t write accurately for the opposite gender, causing a break in the immersion. Lehane doesn’t have this problem – not once did I find myself questioning Rachel’s way of thinking (outside of the norm for a charater like her that is). I imagine this is difficult to do, and I would like to give Lehane the credit for it.
Warnings first: Rachel spends some time in Haiti, during which she reveals she tried to help a group of four girls safely avoid a bunch of rapists. She fails to protect them, leading to a lot of guilt. It’s heavily implied that the girls taken were raped and murdered. Because of Rachel’s guilt about this, it comes up frequently.
Since We Fell starts out feeling almost more like literary fiction than thriller, which is interesting. Rachel Childs had an uneasy childhood, not necessarily a bad one, but still not a fantastic one. That bleeds into her adult life, and likely affects her way of thinking and acting. She ends up becoming a reporter, but later, thanks to her anxiety, she loses her job, her husband, and her friends (clearly they weren’t very good friends, but that’s beside the point). She manages to start getting her life back on track again thanks to Brian, her future second husband.
It’s at this point that the novel feels like it flips a switch, and suddenly becomes a thriller instead. It turns out that lovely, wonderful, caring Brian is actually a con-man; has been their entire relationship. His actions end up putting himself, Rachel, and his business partners/friends in mortal danger.
Personally, I found the first half (before the sudden transition) to be a bit slow and dry. There was an awful lot of buildup, and I’m not sure it was worth it in the end. Did it help me get into Rachel’s head more? I’m sure, but what I’m not sure about is if that was actually needed.
The thriller half of the book (as I’d like to consider it) was a bit less organized, but in a good way. It was chaotic and had constant movement and changes, causing the reader to be uncertain about what was going to happen next, or how Rachel would get out of it. I got a little confused at one point, where Rachel was imagining the worst case scenario of one of her actions. It took me a moment to realize what was actually going on versus what she was afraid of. Once I got past that moment though, things went pretty well.
On the whole I don’t regret reading Since We Fell, but I still maintain that it almost felt as if it were two separate books that just happened to have the same main characters. I like the second half much more than the first, though still acknowledge that the first part was well written, if a bit dry. Lehane is very talented at getting into a fictional character’s head, and ripping out all the details for the world to see. It’s probably worth noting that this is the first of his works that I’ve read; I liked his writing style enough to want to go take a peek at what else he has done.