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Since We Fell by Dennis Lehane
Thriller

Since We Fell

by Dennis Lehane

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Quick take

Lehane knows when to pull back and take his time with the story, and when to up the tension and white-knuckle it to the finish.

Synopsis

The new novel from Dennis Lehane, bestselling author of Mystic River and Shutter Island.

"Lehane is the master of complex human characters thrust into suspenseful, page-turning situations."
—Gillian Flynn

Since We Fell follows Rachel Childs, a former journalist who, after an on-air mental breakdown, now lives as a virtual shut-in. In all other respects, however, she enjoys an ideal life with an ideal husband. Until a chance encounter on a rainy afternoon causes that ideal life to fray. As does Rachel's marriage. As does Rachel herself. Sucked into a conspiracy thick with deception, violence, and possibly madness, Rachel must find the strength within herself to conquer unimaginable fears and mind-altering truths. By turns heart-breaking, suspenseful, romantic, and sophisticated, Since We Fell is a novel of profound psychological insight and tension. It is Dennis Lehane at his very best.

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Since We Fell

From chapter one:

On a Tuesday in May, in her thirty-fifth year, Rachel shot her husband dead. He stumbled backward with an odd look of confirmation on his face, as if some part of him had always known she'd do it.

He looked surprised too. She assumed she did as well.

Her mother wouldn't have been surprised.

Her mother, who never married, wrote a famous book on how to stay married. The chapters were named after stages Elizabeth Childs, Ph.D., had identified in any relationship that began in a state of mutual attraction. The book was entitled The Staircase and became so successful that her mother was convinced (she'd say "coerced") into writing two sequels, Reclimbing the Staircase and Steps of the Staircase: A Workbook, each of which sold more poorly than the last.

Privately, her mother thought all three books were "emotionally adolescent snake oil," but she reserved a wistful fondness forThe Staircase because she hadn't been aware, when she was writing it, how little she actually knew. She said this to Rachel when Rachel was ten. That same summer, late into her afternoon cocktails, she told her, "A man is the stories he tells about himself, and most of those stories are lies. Never look too closely. If you uncover his lies, it'll humiliate you both. Best to just live with the bullshit."

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Why I love it

On a Tuesday in May, in her thirty-seventh year, Rachel shot her husband dead.' Who wouldn't want to keep reading Since We Fell after a throat-grabbing opening line like that? And the novel will take us back to this point, eventually, but not before we learn exactly how Rachel got there.

This is how long I have been reading Dennis Lehane: I remember where I was, to the day and location, when I bought his 2001 masterpiece, Mystic River, in my opinion one of the best crime novels of this century. He continued to produce standout novels like  Shutter Island and The Given Day, and be the source of terrific motion pictures like Gone, Baby, Gone and The Drop. Lehane messes with your mind with puzzles, breaks your heart with complicated characters, and shines a light on the epic sweep of American crime history. He knows when to pull back and take his time with the story, and when to up the tension and white-knuckle it to the finish.

Since We Fell is not quite as gritty (or, frankly, as dude-ish) as Mystic River, but it’s about time Lehane gave a female protagonist her own enthralling story. Raised by a cold, neglectful mother, an improbable star in the world of self-help nonfiction, Rachel comes of age by searching for the absent father her mother does not want her to find. What she finds, and loses, along the way forms her very essence and nearly upends her life. Layer by layer, Lehane unspools Rachel's fears and anxieties with exacting skill, so that by the time she opens herself up to love'”and is betrayed, again and again by doing so'”we are with her, hoping she will overcome unspeakable physical and emotional injury.

Since We Fell is the embodiment of the 'œliterary thriller.' The plot twists as fast and as sharp as your favorite roller coaster, but not until we've gone far inside Rachel Childs's mind to fully know and care about her. Savor the book first, then be prepared to keep pace at the end.

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Member ratings (7,385)

  • Natalie Z.

    Ballwin, MO

    I loved everything about this book! 5⭐️ for all: writing style, storyline, and characters. Manhattan Beach meets True Romance. This is my first experience reading this author, but loved his movies.

  • Stacey D.

    Fort Myers, FL

    Suspenseful, nerve racking and romantic all in one very tightly written novel. Dennis Is an auto buy author for me and I’ve never been disappointed. He has a way of making even the bad guys relatable.

  • Taylor M.

    Dallas, TX

    Since We Fell is an interesting read... I don't know how else to describe it. I'm not sure I've read another book written the way this one is. You're never quite sure what the point is, until you are.

  • Diana T.

    North salt lake, UT

    Whew, what a page turner! Ive had this book for two years on my shelf and I regret not reading it sooner. Interesting character development that makes you like the bad guy? Loved this, new fave author

  • Tanaya H.

    Morganton, NC

    Descriptive writing, but not overly so. Strong, ever changing plot. Throws the reader in a million different directions that all converge in the final pages. Even then, I didn't want this book to end!

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