Reviewed on 14th March 2019

A Gift for Dying by MJ Arlidge

Genre: Crime/Police Procedural Thriller / Fiction / Mystery / Psychological Thriller / Thriller
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A Gift for Dying by MJ Arlidge Synopsis

With just one look, she knows how and when you will die . . .

Nothing surprises Adam Brandt anymore. As a forensic psychologist, he’s seen and heard everything.

That is, until he meets Kassie.

Because she claims to have a terrible gift – with one look into your eyes, she can see when and how you will die.

Adam doesn’t believe her, obviously.

But then a serial killer starts wreaking havoc across the city, and only Kassie seems to know where he’ll strike next.

Against all his intuition, Adam starts to believe her.

He just doesn’t realise how dangerous this trust might be . . .

A Gift for Dying by MJ Arlidge Review

A Gritty and Gruesome Thriller that Kept me on the Edge of my Seat.

Reading a new author is always a thrill and the blurb of this book intrigued me. I had heard good things about Arlidge and this book certainly did not disappoint.

I was gripped by the plot early on and couldn’t stop reading.

Set in Chicago, A Gift for Dying is an intense, gritty and chilling read.

Kassie is a fifteen-year-old girl who has been detained in a juvenile detention centre and Adam, a forensic psychologist, is called in to assess her. You see, Kassie claims to be able to see a person’s death when she looks them in the eye. That’s what she says she was doing when she was arrested for attacking a man she claims to have been trying to warn.

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Adam, of course, doesn’t believe her and believes she is suffering from some sort of psychosis.

But with a brutal serial killer on the loose in Chicago, and Kassie seemingly able to predict his next victim, Adam starts to question Kassie’s gift and her ability to help him catch the killer.

Arlidge beautifully crafted these characters. Kassie is complex, with many layers. She is bold and impulsive but also vulnerable and isolated, haunted by her ‘gift’.

image by @whitterzzm

Adam seems to have everything, but there is so much more going on under that professional exterior. The way his character develops, in particular, is really well written.

But it’s not just the main players that are well drawn in Arlidge’s world – Adams wife Faith is a fantastically written character that I couldn’t help but connect with. She broke my heart.

There are various police officials involved in the investigation. Detective Gabrielle Grey is leading the hunt. She is a strong, hard-working leader. I liked how she wasn’t afraid to ask the hard questions. However, at times I did find her to have tunnel vision and she was a little too focused on Kassie. There is so much more to this book and its characters than the one killer plot line.

The hardships and connections these characters make are just as urgent and gripping as the murders themselves. I was just as intrigued by their home lives just as much as I was for the hunt for the murderer.

Not to disappoint, of course, the serial killer, this character is messed up. The murders were gruesome and savage. For anyone who may be curious, this is not a light read and can become very intense at times.

As much as A Gift for Dying is touted as a psychological thriller, the story is just as much about emotion, love, loss, rejection, isolation, depression and acceptance as it was about hunting down a brutal killer.

This book toyed with my emotions and had me biting my nails right until the end. The short snappy chapters created a sense of urgency adding to the tension. I was left contemplating fate and if everything we experience in life is inevitable or can destiny be altered.

I found myself questioning prophecy and if it is just better not knowing. This fast-paced, action-packed thriller had me on the edge of my seat and the ending sent a chill down my spine. I highly recommend this book.

(Many thanks to Michael Joseph Books and Tracy Fenton for inviting us to take part in this blog tour.)

Published by: Michael Jospeh Books
ISBN: 978-071818-788-0

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