One-sentence summary of Since We Fell:
Rachel shoots her husband, but this is Dennis Lehane, so not all is as it seems.
The first half of Since We Fell is Rachelâ€™s development.
We meet Rachel as a child and see her upbringing with her mother, a tidal wave of a woman who seems to sweep everyone into her undertow.
We see Rachelâ€™s growth into a top reporter. Her looooooooong and fruitless search for her father. Her failed first marriage, though itâ€™s difficult to get a real sense for Sebastian, he first husband, as a person. The origin of her debilitating panic attacks and agoraphobia. Rachelâ€™s long-time acquaintanceship with Brian that turns into a blissful marriage.
And then the story turns. It pirouettes. It jumps into a centrifuge and whirls into something almost unrecognizable.
One day, Rachel accidentally finds that the comfortable, if uneasy, existence she has settled into is not what it seems. This jump from domestic life into mystery makes for a fascinating plot device.
Itâ€™s the terrifying yet somewhat seductive concept: your normal life is not what you think it is.
The setup and ensuing mystery keeps the story moving nicely, though not without a few bumps. Rachelâ€™s backstory is too long. Her search for her father gets tiresome. The mystery goes off the rails a bit and becomes a bit too fantastical to be believable. But boy, is it fun to read.
The main frustration is what I call the “Brad Pitt Theory.”
(possible mild and vague spoilers ahead)
We see it often in action movies. Think of the movie World War Z (not the book version, which is completely different). Every character is expendable, except one Very Special Person: Brad Pitt.
People die all over the place. Bullets fly, zombies chomp, and bodies fall. Characters are seemingly developed for the sole purpose of killing them off. But somehow, Brad Pitt seems to escape by the hair of his chinny chin chin every time, no matter how implausible.
Everyone else can die. Theyâ€™re just bit players in his world, after all. But if Brad Pitt lives, then all is well with the world and we have a happy ending.
All of those casualties? Well, they donâ€™t really matter because Brad Pitt lived, thank goodness.
Disclaimer: I have no ill will against Brad Pitt as a person. Iâ€™m sure heâ€™s lovely.
We see this trope in nearly every action movie. It could easily be called the “Tom Cruise in Every Movie Heâ€™s Ever Done Theory,” the “James Bond Theory,” etcetera ad nauseum.
Those who read Since We Fell will understand this theory and what a disservice it does to the supporting characters.
All of that aside, Since We Fell is great fun, and Iâ€™m sure itâ€™ll make a good movie one day, in the right hands.
This book was my first foray into Book of the Month Club (referral link).
Staff, authors, and special guests find the five best books of the month, let you choose one, then ship you the hardback in a pretty box.
Why are subscription boxes so much fun? Itâ€™s like the Wells Fargo Wagon is a-cominâ€™ down my street and I can barely keep from bursting into song.
Disclaimer: this is not a sponsored post. Iâ€™m a regular consumer and paid for my Book of the Month like everyone else. If you click the link I provided and join, though, I get a book credit.