Book review: If Something Happens to Me by Alex Finlay

Tuesday, June 4, 2024 Permalink

I was enjoying If Something Happens to Me by Alex Finlay until I got about halfway through… and then there’s a twist that completely astounded me. Upping this book’s ante. A lot. Suddenly everything made sense. Threads connected.

Book review: If Something Happens to Me by Alex FinlayIf Something Happens to Me
by Alex Finlay
Published by Head of Zeus
on 28/05/2024
Source: NetGalley
Genres: Thriller / Suspense
ISBN: 1804546364
Pages: 336

For the past five years, Ryan Richardson has relived that terrible night. The car door ripping open. The crushing blow to the head. The hands yanking him from the vehicle. His girlfriend Ali’s piercing scream as she is taken.

With no trace of Ali after she is abducted, a cloud of suspicion hangs over him, though he is never charged. Trying to put his past behind him, Ryan changes his name and enters law school.

It's on a summer trip to Italy that he gets the call: his missing car has finally been found, submerged in a lake in his hometown. But inside the car are two dead men. The only trace of Ali is a cryptic note, the envelope in her handwriting stating If something happens to me...

Reeling from the news, Ryan sees the man who has haunted his nightmares since the night Ali was taken. But how could that be possible, so far from home? His search for answers leads him to England and France, but the truth may lie in the shape of two very different people back in the USA.

The only thing that didn’t entirely make sense was the fact that this was partially set in several countries. It seemed unnecessarily complicated that Ryan happened to be holidaying in Italy (rather than at college back home) when he’s approached by the man he claims took Ali. I realise the suspect wouldn’t have wanted to return to the US but it felt like there were other ways to bring him into the story. Though, we do also visit the UK and France as this story unfolds, so… perhaps Finlay enjoyed some travel-based research.

The timing of the approach is coincidental however, as the suspect is trying to get Ryan to change his account from five years earlier, and at the same time Ali’s car is being discovered, offering up fresh clues as to her fate.

This story is pieced together in several timelines. It’s difficult to explain so I won’t even try though it’s not confusing or complicated. We have a few narrators – there’s Ryan of course in the present and past, and there’s newly-minted cop Poppy McGee, who’s left the army returning to her hometown and her ailing father. Poppy’s brother was a classmate of Alison and Ryan’s and the Sheriff a friend of her father’s. And then there’s Shane O’Leary a ‘businessman’ living in Philadelphia, devoted to his wife and son but we soon learn he’s far from a nice guy.

I really liked (most) of the characters Finlay offers up but the genius of this book is the way in which Finlay pulls the threads together. And though we’re dealing with some low-life thugs Finlay’s able to imbue a sense of gradience. There are things good men and women are forced to do (or willingly do), and likewise there are lines in the sand that some baddies won’t cross. And what Finlay offers here are many shades of grey, all wrapped up in a feasible but surprising narrative.

If Something Happens to Me by Alex Finlay will be published by Head of Zeus (Aries) in late May 2024.

I received an electronic copy of this book from the publisher for review purposes. 


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