(Cover picture courtesy of Nicole Sobon.)
I’m going to make you wish you were dead.
Just a text. Seventeen-year-old Rebecca Hales tries not to worry. Probably a wrong number. Not really meant for her, and definitely not related to the crime she witnessed six years ago. Right?
Then two states away, a bomb goes off in her best friend’s locker. Soon Ryan is labeled a terrorist and runs to the safest place he knows—Rebecca’s house in small-town Wyoming. It doesn’t take long for the FBI to show up asking questions. Rebecca lies, of course, and says she hasn’t seen him.
Now she’s neck-deep in it with him, whatever “it” is. The only way out is to return to Vegas, where Ryan is a wanted man. The city of lies and illusion tests Rebecca’s wits as she struggles to find the person who framed Ryan and why.
Is Rebecca’s text linked to the bombing? And what does it have to do with a six year old murder? Rebecca needs to find out before she loses Ryan—and her own life.
[Full disclosure: This was a free gift to me from Michelle A. Hansen as a token of her appreciation and a review was not expected so of course, as always, this review is honest.]
There were more than a fair amount of clichés in Before They Find Us that any action movie fan will recognize, but overall I actually enjoyed this book.
The main strength of Michelle A. Hansen’s writing is her characters. Rebecca is definitely well-rounded and you really feel that she has some psychological problems as a result of her witnessing a murder at the age of 11. I like how her backstory is slowly revealed because it adds more depth to her character and it’s revealed at a more natural rate than if there was a huge info-dump at the beginning. At first I was a little confused about her relationship to Ryan but then things sorted themselves out and I felt like I knew each character intimately.
I definitely liked the plot twists in this one. There’s just twist after twist and the plot is so fast-paced that I couldn’t stop reading even for a moment. Just when you think it’s all over and the plot is going to wind down for the conclusion Michelle Hansen springs another surprise on you. Yes, there were some twists I could predict because I watch a lot of action movies, but for the main part I was pleasantly surprised at the plot twists. They felt more organic than forced.
The only thing I’m sort of ambivalent about is the premise/clichés. There wasn’t really anything completely unique in the novel and there was a heavy reliance on action/thriller clichés. I would have liked to see some new twists on old tropes but there wasn’t really any of that within the story. It was a good book, but with a few modifications it could have been a great book.
Still, if it sounds interesting to you I’d recommend giving it a try. It’s a heart-stopping read!
I give this book 4/5 stars.