What if…the worst thing that ever happened to you wasn’t what happened, but not being believed?

What if…that lack of belief in you left a killer free to kill again?

This is Alex Taylor’s life. Will it also be her death?

What’s it about?

Usually, I like to give my own take on what a book’s about, but in this case the description is so compelling I’ll let it speak for itself. Here’s the blurb:

Alex Taylor wakes up tied to an operating table.

The man who stands over her isn’t a doctor.

The offer he makes her is utterly unspeakable.

But when Alex re-awakens, she’s unharmed – and no one believes her horrifying story. Ostracised by her colleagues, her family and her partner, she begins to wonder if she really is losing her mind.

And then she meets the next victim.

Now that’s an attention grabbing blurb. Fortunately, it’s followed by an equally attention grabbing first chapter. After all, how often do you hear a killer query: ”Are you aware you have a retroverted uterus? While removing your coil I had to use a curved speculum.”

Are you terrified yet?

What’s it like?

Gripping. Chilling. Utterly convincing despite finally unveiling a thoroughly mad person…but who are they and what has driven them insane?

I liked the medical nature of this thriller. As a doctor, Alex is comfortable with medical terminology, and when she wakes up on the surgical table she essentially instructs the doctor to ‘give it to her straight’. Unfortunately for her, this doctor (are they even a doctor? Could this be a frustrated medical student?) is all about the sideways approach, and nothing will be straightforward until the final blood-drenched pages.

This is the ultimate in psychological trickery as Lawler loosely interweaves chapters from Alex’s point of view and those investigating her story. Is Detective Inspector Greg Turner right to trust her? Or will Detective Constable Laura Best’s scathing assessment of her as dangerous lunatic lead to Alex’s imprisonment and Laura’s promotion? Even when the reader discovers the truth, the wrong person is about to be punished…

Final thoughts

I always enjoy reflecting on how the pieces of the puzzle finally fit together, and this book rewards a little reflection. In hindsight it’s almost obvious who is behind the murders, though I defy you to tease out their “logic” prior to the reveal.

Alex’s abduction and her belief that she has been sexually assaulted is a powerfully emotional scene and may be upsetting for some women, especially in light of the disbelief Alex endures.

This is compelling, compulsive reading with a truly twisted heart and mind at its centre. A must for those who love psychological thrillers.

‘Don’t Wake Up’,
Liz Lawler,
2017, Twenty7, ARC paperback
Many thanks to the publishers for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.