If She Wakes

If She Wakes

Discover the electrifying new novel from New York Times bestselling author Michael Koryta, the "master" (Stephen King) of thriller writing, the story of two women fighting for their lives against an enigmatic killer.Tara Beckley is a senior at idyllic Hammel College in Maine. As she drives to deliver a visiting professor to a conference, a horrific car accident kills the p...

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Title:If She Wakes
Author:Michael Koryta
Rating:
Edition Language:English

If She Wakes Reviews

  • Tucker

    When I say this book went at breakneck speed, what I mean is it literally was so fast and twisty that, at one point, I literally snapped my head up and gasped so quickly that I headed my neck pop.

    This definitely isn't your average thriller even though it did have all the tropes of one.

    takes the b

    When I say this book went at breakneck speed, what I mean is it literally was so fast and twisty that, at one point, I literally snapped my head up and gasped so quickly that I headed my neck pop.

    This definitely isn't your average thriller even though it did have all the tropes of one.

    takes the blank canvas of a dry thriller and fills it with color with plot twists and characters to root for and root against.

    - The main focus of this novel, Tara Beckley is in a suspicious accident that leaves her comatose. She is experiencing something called Locked-In Syndrome which is, in fact, a real and surprisingly rarer than I thought. The syndrome is pretty self explanatory. You are locked in your own body. Most patients with this syndrome can only blink or move their eyes. As anyone would be, Tara is terrified to wake up feeling this way. As the reader, we feel her fear and loneliness. But I loved and was encouraged to see her refuse to give up. Tara (and anyone with this syndrome) is the epitome of strength and endurance.

    - Tara's sister, Shannon, is not unaffected by the accident. She is silently terrified as well. She seems to be the only one who still believes in Tara. Throughout the novel, she stays strong and defends her sister to the end.

    - Abby, an insurance investigator, is assigned to Tara's but, even though she is a complete stranger, it hits close to home. Abby's husband, Luke, was killed in an accident and ended up comatose, just like Tara. Now, Abby has to deal with both her own past and Tara's.

    As I mentioned previously, Locked In Syndrome (henceforth referred to as LIS) is the main topic of the novel. I really appreciate seeing the syndrome from both the perspective of the patient and the family. In fact, I'm honestly glad to see LIS and disability in general to be covered. After doing some research, I saw how much this syndrome can effect daily living but is, somehow, not widely known about by the general population. I was also glad to see how accurate the author covered LIS. Obviously, they've either done a ton of research or have had previous experience with this.

    But this is a thriller so let's talk about the thriller bits. As I said, this book does have a ton of frequently used tropes. Honestly, I think that without the POV of Tara, this book would have fallen apart. It was that magical touch of something new that has never been covered before in anything I've read that made this book so good.

    I think the main thriller was all the stuff surrounding assassins. Basically, everyone is after this phone with data and everyone will kill for it. Somehow, Tara gets accidentally mixed into this mess and hence Abby gets into it too. Because Abby has to figure out the details of Tara's "accident", she has to ask a lot of questions. Questions that get her in trouble. She ends up being captured by one of the assassins. For most of the book, Abby is trying to follow the assassin, Dax Blackwell's orders and trying to escape without getting killed.

    This was actually one of the most entertaining parts of the book. The chemistry between Dax and Abby was absolutely fantastic! Mainly because Dax isn't one of those villains who are straight up paranoid assholes. I think the fact that he was so confident was what made him such a fun character. He knew that he had control of the situation and when he didn't, he knew how to get it back. He was constantly chit chatting and commending Abby. It was almost a haters-to-lovers relationship. Well, more like a mortal-enemies-to-people-who-want-to-kill-each-other-but-will-feel-a-little-sad-to. Basically a road trip romcom but you know, instead of two teens it's an insurance investigator and an assassin.

    Overall, this was a speedy, enthralling thriller that was not only gripping but entertaining. If you have to bring one book to that desert island that everyone is always talking about, being this one. Happy reading!

    Bottom Line:

    5 Stars

    Age Rating: [ R ]

    TW: Murder, Graphic Content

    Cover: 3/5 ~ Plot: 4/5 ~ Characters: 5/5 ~ Audio: 4/5

    Reps: Disability, Mental Illness

    Genre: Mystery/Thriller

    Publication Date: May 14th, 2019

    Publisher: Little, Brown and Company

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  • Kat Dietrich

    is a psychological thriller

    Tara Beckley, a student at Hammel College, is currently escorting a rather tense Dr. Armandi Oltamu, back to the school so he can speak to the students on “batteries”. On the way,

    is a psychological thriller

    Tara Beckley, a student at Hammel College, is currently escorting a rather tense Dr. Armandi Oltamu, back to the school so he can speak to the students on “batteries”. On the way,  he requests a more scenic route. When Tara pulls over by the foot-bridge, they both get out of the car and he snaps some pictures, asking Tara to lock his phone in her glove box. That accomplished, they both turn as a vehicle slams into them. Oltamu is dead, and Tara ends up in a coma.

    Carlos Ramirez immediately confessed to causing the accident.

    Abby Kaplan is an insurance investigator hired by Hammel College to investigate the accident to make sure they will not be sued. An ex-stunt driver, Abby immediately sees an issue. There is no way Ramirez’s story adds up. Then she discovers that the doctor's phone is missing.

    Dax Blackwell, a young man with a black cap and hoodie looks like an innocent teenager. He is a killer, and he is looking for that missing phone. There is big money on the line. He isn’t the only one looking.

    Tara may be in a coma, but she is aware of everything going on around her. Her sister, Shannon, seems to be the only one that feels Tara’s energy. Her mother, step-father and most of the hospital staff have already written her off. If Tara can’t let them know she’s still with them, they will pull the plug. That’s if the killer doesn’t get to her first.

    WOW. This one grabbed me from the first page, and I just hung on. Didn’t want to put it down, not for nothing! There was so much suspense, and edge-of-the seat moments, that you just had to take a breath every now and then.

    The plot and twists were really good, and the characters had enough background that they felt real. The relationship between the sisters was really good, and so was dynamics between Abby and Dax. They “got” each other.

    This was an action-packed book, and although I am not into spy or mafia novels, it did have that sort of feel. It didn’t bother me a bit. There was so much suspense, and edge-of-the seat moments, that you just had to take a breath every now and then.

    Highly recommend this book!

    For a more complete review of this book and others, please visit my blog:

  • Susanne  Strong

    A Visiting Professor, murdered. College Student, Tara Beckley, now in a Coma.

    An Insurance Investigator is positive that the Police have it all wrong. A Hit Man covering up the tracks. Is anyone safe?

    As Abby Kaplan, the Insurance Investigator discovers, the answer to that question is no. Lucky for her, she has agility, speed and intelligence on her side. The Hit Man Dax, however, never loses. Ever.

    A Visiting Professor, murdered. College Student, Tara Beckley, now in a Coma.

    An Insurance Investigator is positive that the Police have it all wrong. A Hit Man covering up the tracks. Is anyone safe?

    As Abby Kaplan, the Insurance Investigator discovers, the answer to that question is no. Lucky for her, she has agility, speed and intelligence on her side. The Hit Man Dax, however, never loses. Ever.

    Thank you to NetGalley, Little Brown and Company and Michael Koryta for an arc of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

    Published on Goodreads, NetGalley and Amazon on 5.27.19.

  • Patrice Hoffman

    Michael Koryta has grown to be one of my favorite suspense writers over the last few years. His novels are intricately woven with thrilling characters, plowing through a plot that just won't let go.

    does not disappoint.

    Tara Beckley is given the responsibility of welcoming a professor who's scheduled to give a speech at her college in Maine. One moment she's wondering why the professor is behaving so strangely, and the next, she's a prisoner in her own body. A fatal crash leaves her

    Michael Koryta has grown to be one of my favorite suspense writers over the last few years. His novels are intricately woven with thrilling characters, plowing through a plot that just won't let go.

    does not disappoint.

    Tara Beckley is given the responsibility of welcoming a professor who's scheduled to give a speech at her college in Maine. One moment she's wondering why the professor is behaving so strangely, and the next, she's a prisoner in her own body. A fatal crash leaves her with "locked-in-syndrome".

    Completely aware of her surroundings and the people around her, Tara fights to be heard. Yet, there are many who hope to silence her forever. Koryta introduces us to a world where no one is to be trusted and that the only person holding the key to survival is locked in.

    presents readers with a host of characters most would not want to encounter for their whole lives. And what everyone is after is the professor's phone that may have extremely valuable information that is worth killing over.

    I would like to say I had at least one gripe with this novel, but all the characters are so clever (and cleverly drawn), and the mysteries behind their motivations are equally captivating, that I don't have anything bad to say at all. Koryta delivers twist after twist with the skill of a professional driver hitting the pavement in a car that goes 0-60 in less than 5 seconds.

    is a thrilling ride with a master in the thriller/suspense genre. Michael Koryta is at the top of his game with this one. I might be a tad bit bias since I am a fan, but I only hope to wake-up those who haven't had the pleasure of reading his books.

  • Holly  B

    The tension builds as they travel along and you just know something is just

     Wild ride ahead...

    Things go horribly wrong, some bad dudes are on the hunt for information and it turns into an action-packed, dodging bullets and run for your life ride. The beginning pieces of the puzzle start to emerge as the events

    The tension builds as they travel along and you just know something is just

     Wild ride ahead...

    Things go horribly wrong, some bad dudes are on the hunt for information and it turns into an action-packed, dodging bullets and run for your life ride. The beginning pieces of the puzzle start to emerge as the events unfold at a fast pace.

    A few chapters felt a bit slow when the doctor is working with the coma patient, but the process was interesting. Also really enjoyed the character of Shannon and her love for her sister, Tara.

    Recommend to fans of suspense with high action, a layered mystery with a kind of mafia feel and a strong female protagonist. 

    Thanks to NG and Little, Brown and Company for a review copy. Out May 14,2019

  • Chandra Claypool (wherethereadergrows)

    Tara is tasked with one thing - get a VIP to his destination by a certain time. So why did that VIP die and she in a coma? Clearly something is afoot. The crappy thing about being in a coma, besides the obvious.... being trapped inside (locked-in syndrome) while your memories start to come back but no way to communicate or let anyone around her know she's actually in there. HELLOOOOO!

    Dax - young, scary and eerily calm... didn't quite fulfill the job he was assigned and now he has to clean up the

    Tara is tasked with one thing - get a VIP to his destination by a certain time. So why did that VIP die and she in a coma? Clearly something is afoot. The crappy thing about being in a coma, besides the obvious.... being trapped inside (locked-in syndrome) while your memories start to come back but no way to communicate or let anyone around her know she's actually in there. HELLOOOOO!

    Dax - young, scary and eerily calm... didn't quite fulfill the job he was assigned and now he has to clean up the mess others think he created and that he just shrugs off. It's in his blood. He's devious, smart, quick and undeterred. I fear for anyone who comes across him or gets in his way.

    This is my first Koryta and I've heard nothing but amazing things about his books. Honestly, I'm surprised I haven't picked up one of his novels before but there's no time like the present, right? I can tell you that I absolutely love his writing style. Very easy to read, you get engaged with each character and the dialogue was honestly my favorite part. I don't know how this would compare to his previous work but I guarantee I'll pick up more by Koryta moving forward. I did feel this particular story could've been shorted just a teeny bit - especially as the ending felt slightly rushed. I also didn't understand why that very last chapter was necessary. I feel like maybe I missed something somewhere?

    Here's something that I adored about this book - very strong women characters.. and Dax. **wink** The banter between Dax and Abby, and Tara's sister, Shannon, with everyone was really fun to read. I love snarky, smart women. The locked-in syndrome gave me SOMETIMES I LIE by Alice Feeney vibes. I don't know what it is about this that I just find so fascinating. Maybe it's from watching SERPENT AND THE RAINBOW eons ago and thinking that would be one of the worst things to happen to someone. Who knows?!

    Those who like thrillers that have that mob mentality / trapped in your body vibe, then this is absolutely the read for you.

    Thank you Little Brown for this copy.

  • OutlawPoet

    I enjoyed this one.

    Surprisingly, my favorite character was Tara - and she was basically locked in her own body.

    Definitely some surprises throughout and it was nicely twisty.

    I was a little less enthralled with the reason behind everything, but the book kept my interest. I simply had to keep reading to find out how everything would end.

    A good read.

  • Tim

    Too bad this high octane thriller fizzles at the end like an evaporating mist.! -1. Write a stronger end, Mr. Koryta! 8 of 10 stars

  • Chelsea Humphrey

    This wasn't a bad book, but I'm starting to feel that I'm just not 100% compatible with Michael Koryta's new books. This is a shame, because I'm an avid cheerleader of all his older works, and perhaps this makes me biased, but it's tough to engage with your standard mob thriller when you know an author can offer so much more than your run-of-the-mill gangster plot. This also felt a smidge too long, and if it had been shaved down a little to provide a snappy, faster paced reading experience, I ma

    This wasn't a bad book, but I'm starting to feel that I'm just not 100% compatible with Michael Koryta's new books. This is a shame, because I'm an avid cheerleader of all his older works, and perhaps this makes me biased, but it's tough to engage with your standard mob thriller when you know an author can offer so much more than your run-of-the-mill gangster plot. This also felt a smidge too long, and if it had been shaved down a little to provide a snappy, faster paced reading experience, I may have given an extra .5 star to bump my rating. If you've enjoyed the author's books in the past, and are looking for your typical thrilling read, I still recommend giving this one a try.

  • Sandy

    3.5 stars

    I was a big fan of this author’s Lincoln Perry series but it’s been a while so I was happy to get my hands on his latest stand alone. For me this was very much a book of 2 halves. I see you squinting at me so I’ll try to explain but first, the 411.

    “Nineteen minutes before her brain and body parted ways, Tara Beckley’s concern was the cold.”

    Got your attention? That’s the opening line & you may wonder if it might be a good idea not to get too attached to poor Tara. No worries. After a

    3.5 stars

    I was a big fan of this author’s Lincoln Perry series but it’s been a while so I was happy to get my hands on his latest stand alone. For me this was very much a book of 2 halves. I see you squinting at me so I’ll try to explain but first, the 411.

    “Nineteen minutes before her brain and body parted ways, Tara Beckley’s concern was the cold.”

    Got your attention? That’s the opening line & you may wonder if it might be a good idea not to get too attached to poor Tara. No worries. After a car crash, she’s still alive albeit trapped in her own body with locked in syndrome. Her passenger, a professor she was driving to a conference, didn’t fare as well.

    Meanwhile a woman named Lisa Boone is wondering what happened to her latest client. She’s in the Detroit airport waiting for a professor who had one more lecture to give before she whisks him away. All she can do is ponder his last text: ASK THE GIRL.

    As Tara lies in a coma, family gathers at her bedside to consider the options. It’s probably a good thing they don’t know she’s listening as they discuss when to turn off the machines & let her go. Luckily she has someone in her corner. Her sister Shannon has always had her back & refuses to believe Tara is already gone.

    Then we meet Abby Kaplan, a claims investigator hired by Tara’s college to look into the accident. They sponsored the conference & want to nail down any potential legal liability stemming from the professor’s death. Fatal accidents are something Abby knows a bit about. She recently returned to Maine after surviving a crash that killed her boyfriend. It’s obvious Abby is still traumatized but she needs this job. So maybe she’ll have a couple of drinks before tackling the crime scene.

    There’s a lot of history & more characters to introduce before the story can really take off. This is what I meant in the intro. The first half sets up various sub plots & establishes the cast but you soon realize Tara & Abby will be the main narrators. I enjoyed Tara’s side. Making one of your MC’s a person who never leaves her bed is an interesting choice. I fared less well with Abby. First, I have a thing about drinking & driving. That’s just a personal tic. But it was mostly the frequent references to the accident in California that sent her running back to Maine.

    Her boyfriend was a well known actor so in addition to her personal grief, Abby had to deal with being excoriated in the press. It’s a horrific experience that would leave anyone reeling & we better understand her behaviour after the initial reveal. However, she (and the reader) delves into it over & over again including long passages of conversations she had with her boyfriend. Not only does it slow the pace & yank you out of the present, it doesn’t add anything to the story. We already know she’s suffering & I confess I found myself skimming these sections to get back to the current situation which was much more compelling.

    Thankfully, this happens less often in the second half. The plot is intricate & things really get interesting when we spend time with a creepy young killer hell bent on making sure no one digs into the circumstances around Tara’s accident. It becomes a fast paced read with several nice twists that keep you turning the pages.

    So with 3 stars for the first half & 4 for the second, I’ll split the difference.

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