Books - Review Of Before She Wakes By Ed James - 2021 - Brilliant Thriller - Much Ado About Everything
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Books – Review of Before She Wakes by Ed James – 2021 – Brilliant Thriller

by AniM
before she wakes
Before She Wakes Book Cover

Book Review – Before She Wakes by Ed James – Brilliant Thriller

My Rating – 4 out of 5

Plot Summary (Storyline) – Before She Wakes

I begin by saying (again) that Ed James is one of the most underrated crime thriller writers that I have come across, though I’m pretty sure that there are many more like him, it’s just that I haven’t come across too many. It’s a surprise that his novels don’t get featured in the New York Times bestseller lists, given that some of them are very good! His DI Simon Fenchurch series, for one, is an absolute bestseller material and the Vicki Dodds series and this Max Carter ones, come pretty close to that. I suspect that it has a lot to do with the way his books are marketed (or not).

With ‘Before She Wakes’, he seems to have found a proper publisher, as there is some amount of promotion that seems to have taken place for this one. Good on him! He mostly writes Scottish Crime thrillers and Police procedurals, but the Max Carter series is based across the pond in the USA, where Max is an FBI Agent in charge of the CARD division – Child Abduction Rapid Deployment. In a quirky little back story – Max himself was abducted by his own father from London, where he was born and lived till eight, and brought to the US, after his parents separated. His mother died in a car accident soon after during an acrimonious divorce battle.

Before She Wakes Author Ed James writing masterclass

Here, Max is called in to investigate the abduction of teenager Olivia, whose mother was lying drugged in the kitchen when Olivia went missing. Max and his team investigate and suspects keep piling up, including Olivia’s own estranged father Deacon Hill. Deacon himself is missing, presumed dead, and Marissa’s (Olivia’s mother) current boyfriend Gregg is also a man with a lot of dirty secrets. Then there is Ray Hill, Marissa’s father-in-law, and Deacon’s father. He is an ex-cop, rich with inherited wealth and battling a personal tragedy – his daughter Frankie (Deacon’s half-sister) has been diagnosed with Leukemia, with little hope of survival.

In another, a slightly tangential line to the story at hand, Max’s father Bill Carter, is being investigated for a possible role in an international human trafficking ring – this is the same ring through which he brought Max to the US thirty-odd years ago. The trauma of being forcefully abducted and separated from his mother has left a deep scar in Max’s psyche, the burden of which he still painfully bears – despite his having outgrown that trauma and becoming an FBI Agent and now having a loving family of his own. Chris King has come over to Seattle from Scotland Yard to investigate Bill Carter, and here he’s been paired with Max’s colleague Lori, for local assistance. Another twisted mystery!

Read the review of Max Carter #2 ‘Tell Me Lies” here

before she wakes book back cover
Before She Wakes Book Back Cover

Conclusion – Book Review of Before She Wakes

As I started by saying, the author is hugely underrated, and this is an eminently readable book. It is breathtakingly pacy from start to finish and full of good ol’ investigative work. Dogged focus on seemingly innocuous leads and hardnosed follow-ups fill the pages and the resolutions follow logically. There are enough twists and turns to keep the reader thoroughly engrossed and reasoned conclusions follow. But will Max Carter find closure in both his professional investigation and the one ravaging his personal life? Read to find out!

Author of Before She Wakes Ed James
Before She Wakes Author Ed James

*I hope you have enjoyed reading this book review as much as I have enjoyed writing this! Do watch this space for more such reviews and navigate through the links below for more… Thank you!! *

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