Book Reviews · Fiction · Mystery · Thriller

Freefall by Jessica Barry

In an effort to be totally transparent with our readers, I have a confession to make. Anytime I find a book whose title reminds me of a song, I can’t help by get that song’s lyrics stuck in my head. Example, when I see Next Year in Havana, I always start singing “Havana, oo na na, half of my heart is in Havana, oo na na.” Similarly, when I see When the Lights Go Out, I keep hearing that 90s boy band, Five, “Baby when the lights go out, I’ll show you what it’s all about.” What song is stuck in my head right now? That’s easy mode:


A propulsive debut novel with the intensity of Luckiest Girl Alive and Before the Fall, about a young woman determined to survive and a mother determined to find her. When your life is a lie, the truth can kill you

When her fiancé’s private plane crashes in the Colorado Rockies, Allison Carpenter miraculously survives. But the fight for her life is just beginning. For years, Allison has been living with a terrible secret, a shocking truth that powerful men will kill to keep buried. If they know she’s alive, they will come for her. She must make it home.

In the small community of Owl Creek, Maine, Maggie Carpenter learns that her only child is presumed dead. But authorities have not recovered her body—giving Maggie a shred of hope. She, too, harbors a shameful secret: she hasn’t communicated with her daughter in two years, since a family tragedy drove Allison away. Maggie doesn’t know anything about her daughter’s life now—not even that she was engaged to wealthy pharmaceutical CEO Ben Gardner, or why she was on a private plane.

As Allison struggles across the treacherous mountain wilderness, Maggie embarks on a desperate search for answers. Immersing herself in Allison’s life, she discovers a sleek socialite hiding dark secrets. What was Allison running from—and can Maggie uncover the truth in time to save her?

Told from the perspectives of a mother and daughter separated by distance but united by an unbreakable bond, Freefall is a riveting debut novel about two tenacious women overcoming unimaginable obstacles to protect themselves and those they love.

My thoughts

I wanted to love this book so bad. Someone trying to escape from an assailant after SURVIVING A PLANE CRASH in the Rockies (I’d just be celebrating the fact that I survived the crash TBH… this is why I hope I’m never in a horror movie), familial drama that resulted in a mother and daughter no longer speaking for 2 years? That sounds like my love language.

The story was told in alternative viewpoints and timelines (between Maggie and Allison, past and present). I really enjoyed Maggie’s chapters because it evoked strong emotions in me as she tried to piece together what happened to her daughter and accepting how much she didn’t know about her daughter’s life- while also trying to maintain hope that she was still alive and eventually a reconciliation.

Unfortunately, the story just fell flat for me. Maybe it’s because I’m the mystery/thriller/suspense extraordinaire of Shih Tzus & Book Review (I just gave myself that title, it’s cool), maybe I read too many of the genre. Either way, the “twists” just seemed too predictable and I was left wanting something…more. More development, more suspense…something.

Overall, this book was a quick read, fast paced, and kept me engaged. It was a solid debut and look forward to following Barry’s work in the future! Grab your own copy of Freefall here. Thank you so much to Harper Collins for providing me with an advance review copy. It’s my privilege to share my thoughts and opinions with our readers!


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