Book review: Try Not To Breathe by Holly Seddon


Yes, I finished this one a few days ago and I’m still in two minds about it. On the whole, I think it’s a good read; the pace is a little slower than I prefer (that is, of course, a personal preference) but the prose flowed nicely without too many hiccoughs (though I did feel the author was trying too hard in a couple of places) and the characters blended and bounced off each other in a very natural way.  The book is written from multiple view points and for the most part that worked extremely well for me; it’s hard work to pull off something like that, especially when you’re dealing with four or five protagonists. Still, I was glad that the name of the character was given at the start of each chapter; I didn’t feel the characterisations were strong enough to make the players easy to separate. After a while, their personalities seemed to blend to a point I might have had trouble picking them out if the chapters hadn’t been dedicated to a single viewpoint. I also wasn’t getting much sense of the environment, but this is a minor detail and could be do with the fact the author couldn’t expand on the locations (because it’s best to keep books short these days) or that the book was set in Tunbridge Wells.

There were one or two technical aspects that niggled me, but they certainly wouldn’t draw anyone else’s attention. Someone needs to have another crack at formatting the iBooks version for a start: lots of the chapters didn’t start on a new page, lots of sentences were cut needlessly and fell to the next line, and this:


is not a punctuation symbol I’ve ever seen before.

Anyway, that’s just me being a little pedantic, because the main problem was that I was being asked to suspend disbelief a little too much for a book of this nature. I knew who did it as soon as his name came up, so I had a hard time believing that the police didn’t go pick him up straight away. But again, I can’t really say whether this is a shortcoming of the book, or having read so many novels like this, I have an idea of how the writer thinks. If it’s the latter then perhaps not many other people will pick up on it.

Still, overall, the quality of the writing is superb, and this kept me going to a masterful conclusion, when I might have otherwise have given up on it.

Five out of ten.



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