Review: If She Wakes

Review If She Wakes

I started reading If She Wakes, by Michael Koryta, on the drive to visit friends for Thanksgiving. I finished before dinner was served. It is the definition of a page-turner.

I mean just read this synopsis from the publisher:

Tara Beckley is a senior at idyllic Hammel College in Maine. As she drives to deliver a visiting professor to a conference, a horrific car accident kills the professor and leaves Tara in a vegetative state. At least, so her doctors think. In fact, she’s a prisoner of locked-in syndrome: fully alert but unable to move a muscle. Trapped in her body, she learns that someone powerful wants her dead–but why? And what can she do, lying in a hospital bed, to stop them?

Abby Kaplan, an insurance investigator, is hired by the college to look in to Tara’s case. A former stunt driver, Abby returned home after a disaster in Hollywood left an actor dead and her own reputation–and nerves–shattered. Despite the fog of trauma, she can tell that Tara’s car crash was no accident. When she starts asking questions, things quickly spin out of control, leaving Abby on the run and a mysterious young hit man named Dax Blackwell hard on her heels.

If She Wakes gives us:

  • A victim trapped in her own body, unable to communicate
  • The victim’s family, possibly working against her survival
  • An investigator struggling with PTSD
  • A hit man

It’s a great premise and it’s masterfully executed. I loved how the plotlines occasionally intersected, each one full of tension. Will Tara figure out a way to communicate before her family pulls the plug? Will Abby be able to overcome her past trauma to solve the mystery of the accident? Who is the hit man and why is he involved?

If She Wakes is the first Michael Koryta book I’ve read, but I’ll definitely be looking for more from him. He certainly lives up to Stephen King’s description as a “master” of the thriller.

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